UK theme parks from another point of view!

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Dormiens-Dave

Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:36 pm

From TT News

The 2012 season see's the opening of two brand new attractions at the Alton Towers Resort, Ice Age 4D and the highly anticipated Nemesis Sub-Terra, which are both set to open in a little over 2 weeks time. However, the 2012 season also see's reduced opening hours for the theme park, which has also been seen in sister Merlin Entertainments parks such as Thorpe Park and Legoland.

On quieter days in 2012 the theme park will be closing at 4:00pm, during the busy month of August the park will be closing at 6:00pm (compared with last year's 7:00pm) but both the Scarefest and Fireworks events will remain at 9:00pm closes, so there will still be plenty of time to ride your favourite attractions in the dark.

Alton Towers (and most other UK theme parks) have traditionally had shorter opening hours compared with major European theme parks (Such as Europa Park and Disneyland Paris). However, Alton Towers are also known to increase their opening hours during the day if attendance is higher than anticipated.

For example, on Saturday the 31st of March 2012 here are the closing hours for select UK/European theme parks:

Alton Towers: 10:00 - 17:30 (ERT from 9:00)
Europa Park: 9:00 - 18:00
Disneyland Paris: 10:00 - 20:00 (ERT from 8:00)
Thorpe Park: 10:00 - 18:00
TowersTimes contacted Alton Towers and this is their response:

The Alton Towers Resort represents excellent value for money for a unique short break for the whole family.  With the investment in two major new attractions this year, Nemesis Sub-Terra and Ice Age – The 4-D Experience, together with a host of other exciting world class thrill rides and unique experiences, we are yet again reinforcing our position as the UK’s favourite Theme Park.

Our operating season is amongst the longest of any similar attraction type in the UK, running as it does from 24th March until the 4th November this year, and our opening hours have always been variable. We have for example always closed earlier during our shoulder periods of March, April, May and September when the weather is usually poorer.

Interestingly, our busiest times are not, as one might expect, during the summer months, but in fact are during the October half term when we are open until 9pm.  Our wonderful Scarefest event brings in hundreds of thousands of families from across the UK, as do the end of season Firework Spectaculars which have quickly regained their reputation as a ‘must see’ attraction!  We have therefore simply decided to align our closing times this year more with our actual visitor use and this means closing at 6pm during the summer and between 4pm and 5pm during the off peak times.  However we monitor our visitor feedback on a daily basis and review all our operations regularly as appropriate.

Last edited by Dormiens-Dave on Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Sam
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:44 pm

Dormiens-Dave wrote:
Interestingly, our busiest times are not, as one might expect, during the summer months, but in fact are during the October half term when we are open until 9pm.


Park busiest when they put events on.

Shocker.
 
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siralgenon
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:55 pm

Well, that reply was helpful  :roll:

To be honest, half of that letter was advertising the park and didn't answer the question what do ever.

In the summer months the Theme Park should be at least open until 8:00pm-9:00pm! There's no excuse for that.
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Dormiens-Dave

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:56 pm

I think they where highlighting the point that summer doesnt give them the guest numbers to warrent later opening. Would be nice if they could develop an event to bring crowds into the summer months
 
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:59 pm

I thought alton always was opening untill 5pm. This is why the park is getting worse. Alton/Merlin need to solve this. People that come from far away will not be happy with lower openngs.  For example summer 7pm still early!! People that have more time will eat more and spend more money and wont rush and more likly to come back.
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Nathan
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:01 pm

Could have been worse.

I heard that there was talk of reducing Scarefest opening hours during weekdays (probably the week outside half-term) at one point.
 
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:03 pm

The decision to close between 4-5pm is a bit disappointing really... =( but oh well, what can ya do eh? Its not like iv'e driven 4 hours to go eh, and were not paying more money then last year! Oh wait, we are!
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:05 pm

This is no doubt to do with saving money. I rather suspect that ERT will go soon, and AT push the Fastrack system.
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:21 pm

Chessington has better opening hours than this park.

This says it all.
 
AstroDan

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:26 pm

That response is complete corporate rubbish but there isn't much else they can say.

Merlin are forcing the parks to reduce costs. It is so unfair on individual attractions and god help the lowest paid theme park workers. Their low take home pay will be even less now.

4.00pm. Great big LOL.

A six hour day? Joke! Most guests don't arrive until 11 as it is!

Adrenalin week used to be 10-4.00 and that always felt short. This is so bad. I remember back in c2004, the park trialled a 4.30pm close. It didn't last.

Why does it feel like Alton want to do things but are being held back by controlling paper pushers somewhere down south.

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Last edited by AstroDan on Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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John
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:41 pm

Terrible news this sort of stuff directly affects guests enjoyment of the park, and people will vote with their feet.  It's hugely frustrating to see the parks I love being driven into the ground.

Under Merlin, the long-term outlook for the UK parks is looking increasingly bleak, despite (on the whole) healthy investment in new rides.
 
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:41 pm

AstwoDan wrote:
Why does it feel like Alton want to do things but are being held back by controlling paper pushers somewhere down south.


Probably because they are being held back by controlling paper pushers. :(


It really wouldn't surprise me if these time changes affect guest numbers. Will people want to got to a park for more money and have less riding time over what they got over the past couple of years? These opening hours are just ridiculous! :|
 
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:48 pm

I'm desperately disappointed that they finally went with this option after hearing it rumoured a couple of months back. You have to wonder how much of of a detrimental affect this will have on guest satisfaction.

However, having said that, if I had to make a choice, I'd choose to have operating budgets cut for a season than to have budgets for developments cut. Opening times may be for one season, but a new addition lasts for years. I know it's not ideal and I'm gutted, however I feel as though it could have been a lot worse for the park.

I suppose the park with the biggest budget has to make the largest of cuts, compared to Chessington where there isn't much to cut from an already minimal budget.
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:58 pm

Open for 6 hours?  I can't see them selling many of those £22 meal deals then?  :lol:  Though the upsell of them will be there.  :shock:

Joking aside though, 6 hours opening for what is supposed to be one of the UK's premier Theme Parks is nothing short of laughable, especially on Sundays.    I really do despair at times.  There is only so much cost cutting you can do before you begin to affect guest experience.  I hope they learn the hard way.

The response from Alton Towers is laughable corporate rubbish, evidently have to follow the company line and put some positive spin on it.  I had high hopes for this season, especially after the downer of last year, it couldn't of been any worse.  6 hours of opening, especially on Sundays is simply not good enough.  Guest satisfaction no longer counts for anything in the ever growing quest for bigger profits.  :(
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Dobba

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:04 pm

People should refuse to go until they scrap the idea. I can't see Merlin caring particularly reading people's complaints while, at the same time, they count their money into the pile.
Last edited by Dobba on Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:12 pm

Dobba wrote:
People should refuse to go until they scrap the idea. I can't see Merlin caring particularly reading people's complaints while, at the same time, they count their money into the pile.

Easier said than done! :para:

I wonder if this is because they decided to keep Enterprise and Submission open instead? :roll: :P
 
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DanteNero666
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:13 pm

The suggestion that people just shouldn't go is a good one, but impossible to carry out, even though I am distraught at these new opening hours, I will still go. At least I have ERT eh?
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oldgitBEN

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:19 pm

oh lordy what a fine mess you have created again merlin.

You do realise the only park with the same opening hours on quiet days is Flamingo Land, yep, that park about a 3rd the size of you and independently owned and out of the way for most people - well done Flamingo Land, your operating hours match that of the most successful park in the country, way to fight with the big boys.

Alton is a big park, both in space and rides/attractions, even on a very quiet day it is very difficult to get around all the park due the sheer size, and if there are queues it will be impossible. Perhaps its justifying selling Fasttracks on quiet days, as it will be the only way of getting the rides done in the park.

As for opening, that whopping, 6 hours, I dont think many all day meal vouchers will be sold with guests arriving after breakfast and being kicked out in the mid afternoon. You are only open for 1 meal of the day LOL! Stupidity reigns supreme.

I wish I could see some positivity with this, but there is none. Alton deserve a damn good kicking from this, both from enthusiasts and general visitors and hopefully they will feel it in their pockets - the only times it seems to matter.
 
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Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:22 pm

Would've preferred them to have got rid of ERT during offpeak than close at 4. Think of those poor hotel guests - oversleep, and you're screwed. Let alone the evenings when you have a total of about nothing open to do.

It's very very short term attitude, 4pm.. guests won't bother travelling far for that. Less people turn up. Therefore money is less, so the idea of opening later than 4 doesn't resurrect. Downward spiral for the business.

Plus.. what's this in the planning applications of towers persuading/growing guests during offpeak times? If anything, this'll do the complete and utter opposite.
 
Poison Tom 96

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:28 pm

I could see them pushin for an extra 1-2 hours opening in the summer tbh

Also ERT helps the park to spread guests which is a good thing and an AP perk
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