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Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:38 am
by nicky.borrill
And then it was gone...

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:35 pm
by Bexa
The video seems to have been taken down?

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:37 am
by GregH94
Why? The only issue I found with the video is its extremely short length, is there an editing mistake in it we missed that they’ve had to go back and correct? 

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:54 am
by Swarm Chris
Video disappears within half an hour of normal office hours starting on Monday, and doesn't appear to have ever been advertised on the parks social media channels. I'm thinking it wasn't meant to have been released. Maybe uploaded to share between teams and someone pressed the wrong button?

It gave me the rushed homework due tomorrow vibe, in terms of quality. Maybe we'll see a more polished version this week.

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:11 pm
by GregH94
It appears it's back online, the fonts have been updated as well - seems that the previous video was a draft version.

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:10 pm
by Justin


Join the chosen ones on the world’s most immersive rollercoaster experience to date, unifying cutting edge special effects with classic wooden coaster technology for the first time!

The chosen ones can climb on-board the Beornen’s works train passing further into their secretive world, splintering around a labyrinth of twisted track. The burning embers light the path as the train hurtles towards the six-storey high flaming effigy. Speeding towards the Wicker Man, he spectacularly ignites into flames as the train bursts through his chest three times.

With the closed season upon us, how would you review Wicker Man at the Alton Towers Resort?

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:42 pm
by Swarm Chris
Hopefully Wicker Man has been the kick that Merlin needs, to realise quality shines brightest. A start-to-finish experience that stands apart from anything else Alton Towers and Merlin have produced. Brilliantly, the ride itself does not disappoint.

The experience for me starts with the view: the Wicker Man; and the near amphitheatre that the ride sits in. Next, the sound: roaring trains that rattle their way through the track; the flames, short bursts of heat and force, often heard and felt more than seen for me during the day. Then the entrance banner, the first of many weathered looking decorations from the ceremony.

The queue then leads you around the perimeter of the track, giving more spectacular views across the ride. The music filling the gaps while a train isn't present. Part of me wished the queue would have gone through the ride more, but by circling it, it allows the ride to be the show piece, with no distractions of people in the queue.

Then the ride building. A short scene that no matter how many times I saw it this year, still left me impressed. The loudness of it, the lighting and finally the reveal. Followed by the station, superbly decorated.

The ride itself, became surprisingly fast over the summer. Chaotic but not brutal, it didn't leave any bruises after throwing me around, unlike other wooden coasters. The entry into the amphitheatre area after the second tunnel, with a downhill right then left turn, is my favourite part of the ride and one of my favourite parts of any roller coaster. The speed and noise is just great!

Somehow they managed to get three trains past the budgeting department, and the throughput really showed because of it.

However, there were some issues that appeared to go beyond teething problems. Guest flow through the pre-show and into the station became chaotic. Staff pushing people too far forward so they couldn't see the screen, or overfilling the pre-show so that the station became backed up. This led to people still trying to leave the pre-show as the next people came in, who also saw it all resetting. Fundamentally, I worry that the station is too small on the entrance side, as when they were running the pre-show with less people, they'd often result in a train going out with about 6 people on every now and again, as the station was processing people faster than the pre-show. With increased numbers, they clogged everything up.

But that's it, a great addition to the park. Merlin, please build something like that at Thorpe or Chessington. Also, evening ERT for hotel guests? A good way to fill those hotels in the off-peak season.

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:25 pm
by Michelle
My enthusiasm to get back to the park is almost entirely based on my need to get back on Wicker Man.

I'll never forget the first day I rode, approaching the ride with the Welcome-Inn to the left, bunting strung around about , the weather was good and as cheesy as it is for the first time in such a long time I actually felt the magic.

I think the theming is fantastic, the way the area works as a whole rather than just being a standalone ride is fab. It really reminds me of being somewhere like PA.
The ride is impressive to look at and hear, I've not had a bad ride on it yet, and in the dark imo cannot be beaten, without question my number one ride at the park.

That said, it's not without faults and I can fully admit that , the whole batching/preshow/station nonsense gives me the fear and definitely needs resolving.

This sort of quality should absolutely be the blue print for Merlin rides going forward, whether it will be or not... Well that remains to be seen.

I fully agree Chris, evening ERT for hotel guests would be excellent.

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:36 pm
by Justin
From the first ride, and to be honest, whilst it was being built, Wicker Man became my number one ride. I am absolutely in love with it and I can't get enough of it!

As the above comments mention, the themeing is outstanding and offers something magical. It is certainly a clean and well executed ride. My only criticism would be the sound tunnels and end tunnel before entering the station, but hopefully these will be improved over the closed season. It wouldn't take much to sort these out... add a similar effect to that seen in the station with wicker walls and lighting and the issue is solved.

The ride is first class!

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:47 pm
by Dan
Wicker Man is excellent.

Enough said :lol

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:37 pm
by Rob
I'll be honest, my first ride on Wicker Man was disappointing. I didn't think it lived up to the hype and was expecting so much more after reading reviews of it. Scarefest, my opinion totally changed. The ride seemed fasted and more intense and that was riding it during the day. Again riding it in the dark brought a totally new experience, especially experiencing one of the last rides of the day.

Is it my favourite ride? I'm not sure, its a hard call between The Smiler, Nemesis and Wicker Man as all have the their individual strengths and individualities. I'm certainly looking forward to riding it again this year.

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:30 am
by Morgan
I think Wicker Man is a great ride, but it's not all perfect so I thought I'd give a bit of a more critical look. (I'll try and balance things as I do genuinely like the ride, but some of the negatives are often glossed over.)

There's no doubt that the Wicker structure is impressive, especially when the misters are on full. My issue with this though happens to be the way the fire is percieved. I get that doing a load of fire must be a H&S and budgetary nightmare, but the LED screens with the firey video playing sticks out like a sore thumb. The first time I saw the area it was very obvious and took away from the magic.  The trains rumbling around gives the area a nice atmosphere and they really do fly around the track. If there's one thing I don't enjoy about the area is that it feels "boxy"- a complaint that I see with a lot of coasters built nowadays. Let me explain:
     Imagine you had a big square for a roller-coaster. You could fill that big square with lots of little pathways going over and under track with plazas, shops, maybe other rides etc. or you could fill the box entirely with track and have a little pathway around the edge that takes guests in and out. Wicker Man is self-contained within it's little box (and yes, the queue does pass through pieces of the structure, but the plaza and surrounding area is a fixed perspective along the side of the box). I find it annoying when rides are self-contained because a lot can be said for wandering through the area around little pathways and viewing the ride from many angles- rides like Nemesis and Taron execute very well.

Have only had to use the extension queue the once and it's nothing particulary special, so I won't drone on about that.

The main queue is generally a pleasant experience. Although the first bit is cattlepen, being in a courtyard of track with a beautiful view of the Wicker Man himself is a lot of fun. The next section is a looong trundle alongside the edge of the site- this is the only part of the queue I don't really enjoy, as discussed with the "boxy" nature of the area. Passing the corner past the shop, you descend down and this is when the experience starts to atmospheric thanks to a lovely zoned audio effect. Crawling closer to the ride and it becomes incredibly noisy which really helps build tension. This is mostly due to the rattly lift chain and excess noise leaking out of the main building, but it's fabulous. So much so that it actually made me nervous upon my first time riding!

Spoiler: show
Then comes the preshow, and this part of the attraction is incredibly well done. I was skeptical at first when hearing there was a preshow as I expected it to be a long boring script that just went on forever, but Wicker Man keeps things short and sweet. There's only a short piece of narrative speaking before the effects really kick in, and thanks to the subwoofers, the atmosphere in here is amazing. You can really feel your whole body tremble with every deep note which really adds to the fear. If there's one complaint I had about the preshow it'd be about the curtain the show is displayed on. It's possible to see the ram head before it's revealed- something that could be easily fixed with a second black sheet behind the white one to absorb any excess light.

The station follows and you are greeted with an issue- the ride could really benefit from an extra corridor before you get to the station as often enough there isn't enough room for everybody, meaning people clog up and they can't batch in bagging properly. I'm fairly certain this has been rectified however with smaller group sizes.
The theming in here is nice with the wicker walls illuminated in a delicious red, and the banners in the ceiling give it that extra boost. Another issue I have is more of a nitpick, and thats that the little bits of cloth that name each row are placed at a weird angle and size, meaning is trickier to find your dedicated row. Once again it's an easy fix that should be possible, and I wouldn't be too surprised to see it changed sooner or later.

Then of course, no ride on Wicker Man is complete without riding the damn thing. And I gotta tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. It's no secret that people scoffed at the layout at first as it didn't look all that great with no super whippy transitions or speed building, but somehow those aren't issues on the real thing. On a hot summers day the trains really give it the beans as such, and as you're going so fast the corners can pack a real punch. It's obviously slower when colder and whilst it's nowhere near as fun, it's still nice. But I wouldn't call the ride "the best thing ever", in my own humble opinion. It's fun- don't get me wrong- but it's not a Nemesis beater for me. I'd go as far as saying it's the weakest GCI I've ridden as the rest are all much more violent and airtimey, but that doesn't make Wicker Man bad. It's still a fun ride, but not quite as good as the other members of it's family.

Exiting the ride over a quick bridge, down some concretey stairs and into the shop. The shop is nice with it's fixed route and some cool theming features. It's sometimes tricky to tell what there is to buy and what is there for world building!

But there is one big negative I haven't mentioned yet and it pains me to say this, but here goes: the ride area generally looks ugly.
Now don't shoot me down just yet, I can explain. There's so much concrete around the area (obviously used for footers which is inevitable) that hasn't been covered up. What doesn't help is the concrete is already grimy in places. It just feels bare and as if they ran out of budget and had to leave it. As unrealistic as it is, I really would like to see it tidied up and to have any visible concrete walls (looking at you pre-lift) covered up if budget allows so.

So in general- Is Wicker Man the best ride at Alton Towers? No. But does it set a new standard for roller-coasters in the UK? Absolutely. It's so good to see a return to form with the theatricallity- I've heard comparisons to the original Chessington Vampire in terms of scale and fun. It's a great ride and I'm looking forward to riding it again when it reopens.

Re: Wicker Man - General Discussion

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:43 am
by JC13
Honestly, I was disappointed with my first ride on Wicker Man, but it was still special because it was my 100th coaster, and since then I’ve started to love the ride more and more, until it became my favourite UK coaster. I already have so many great memories with Wicker Man, summer festival ERT, my WR attempt on it (I was the kid who solved a Rubik’s cube on it) and of course, night rides. It was incredible in the dark and I’m so happy my final ride was able to be back row night ride, because it’s 100% the best coaster experience in the UK!