UK theme parks from another point of view!

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 21
 
Bote
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1819
Joined: August 2009
Location: In the hall of the mountain king
Contact:

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:39 pm

James wrote:
The only thing that is, and will keep Alton Towers going, is simply the name that the resort carries: Alton Towers


See this is what I think the main issue is with Merlin and some Towers managment's attitude. They just assume that the place can sell itself now it's had several years of success by its name alone. It can't. Nothing can support itself purely on a name.

If the investments slow down or cease and there are cutbacks in the eyes of the public then there opinion will slip. It took Tussauds a good few years to make the place what it is, but it'll take Merlin even longer to return it to it if they let the standards drop too much.

Especially considering that many of the other UK parks are beginning to expand further you would hope that Merlin want to be allowing their parks to do even more than before to stay ahead of the competition.

The park shouldn't sell itself purely on it's name. It should sell itself on its excelent rides and attractions, and superior standards.
Image
Image
 
User avatar
Mike
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 737
Joined: April 2007
Location: Ramsgate/Bedford
Contact:

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:42 pm

Letter I have written to Merlin (edited due to helpful feedback from AstroDan):

To whom it may concern, Merlin Entertainments,

I am writing to express my severe disappointment regarding operating hours for the 2012 season at what you supposedly regard as one of your two main UK attractions, Alton Towers.

Over the past few years (particularly 2010 and 2011) neither park has received particularly great investment in terms of new rides or shows, and thus 2012 is shaping up to be a relatively large investment year in comparison, with The Swarm opening at Thorpe, and Nemesis: Sub-Terra opening at Alton Towers.

As such, it is with great disappointment and a certain amount of surprise that I view your operating hours for 2012, and especially with regards to Alton Towers. You have a major new attraction, with the best marketing I have seen from Alton in years, and yet you have cut opening hours dramatically. It says a lot that Chessington World of Adventures, a smaller park in terms of visitor numbers in your portfolio has got greater opening hours that your premier UK park. This is very concerning, as it directly effect's a visitor's value for money.

I acknowledge that last year the park was quiet for the last hour of the day in August, but the more compressed opening hours also risks contributing to logistical issues with regard to local roads, as the spread of people leaving will be a lot less.

I urge you to reconsider this issue, as otherwise I do feel that your park's attendance could drop, and this may also have a residual effect for visitor numbers in the 2013 season, which would, in my view, be a huge mistake with a major new rollercoaster being planned.

Many thanks,

Mike Wooldridge
Last edited by Mike on Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image

Thanks to Ian for the sig!
 
SpinballEdders

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:45 pm

If they want to reduce the park hours because of costs, then why not open later during the day instead of closing earlier? As AstwoDan mentioned; most people don't arrived at the park bang on 11 and went I to Alton for the first time, I didn't arrive at the park until 1:30PM! Besides, the staff having to arrive later during the day would actually benefit them, Having an extra hour in bed! :P

It is indeed very difficult to get around the park and ride everything in one day, I can see the hotels being fully booked because of the time changes, shame on you Alton/Merlin  :no:
 
AstroDan

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:48 pm

I do not particularly think accusing Merlin of general "stiff handedness" with regards to budgetary information is particularly helpful at the moment, given that much of this we have no "actual" proof of. Let's not talk about Disney, Europa or anyone else - let's just focus on the issue of Alton Towers within the context of the UK Theme Park market. Let us also not discuss ANY OTHER issue - other than park close times. Otherwise, the weight of criticism becomes diluted and, think rationally for a second, Alton Towers has a pretty decent season lined up with new attractions.

As much as there are clearly budgetary difficulties and significant constraints being placed upon Alton Towers (and the entire resort theme park division) at the moment, so far as I am concerned, it is the issue of value-for-money on the day out that is of most concern.

With rising petrol costs and a car parking charge of £6.00, together with a high admission price, Alton Towers no longer offers value of any sort, based on a 4:00pm ride close. Many guests purposefully visit on quieter days to ensure they get "best value". Alton are simply cutting this "value" aspect by closing earlier.

I had the chance to visit during February opening with 3 adult friends and a young girl, aged 6. We visited most attractions during the day but, even with limited rides and only 30 minutes for lunch, we only got chance to re-ride one attraction - Nemesis. This was with minimal queues.

With typical family faff, poor navigational skills around the park, many people are not going to get on much at all.

It is bitterly disappointing. I live only 20 miles from the park, but even for me it costs £8.00 return petrol.

If I do visit and the park closes at 4:00pm at any stage, I shall be complaining at Guest Services.
 
Dormiens-Dave

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:51 pm

Indeed though i feel this is down to Merlin as i know how passionate nearly all of the Towers managent are for the park we have little to no evidence of budget cuts from merlin.

Just wish to clarify this before the usual attack on Merlins social media outlets occurs
 
User avatar
Mike
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 737
Joined: April 2007
Location: Ramsgate/Bedford
Contact:

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:01 pm

AstwoDan wrote:
I do not particularly think accusing Merlin of general "stiff handedness" with regards to budgetary information is particularly helpful at the moment, given that much of this we have no "actual" proof of. Let's not talk about Disney, Europa or anyone else - let's just focus on the issue of Alton Towers within the context of the UK Theme Park market. Let us also not discuss ANY OTHER issue - other than park close times. Otherwise, the weight of criticism becomes diluted and, think rationally for a second, Alton Towers has a pretty decent season lined up with new attractions.

As much as there are clearly budgetary difficulties and significant constraints being placed upon Alton Towers (and the entire resort theme park division) at the moment, so far as I am concerned, it is the issue of value-for-money on the day out that is of most concern.

With rising petrol costs and a car parking charge of £6.00, together with a high admission price, Alton Towers no longer offers value of any sort, based on a 4:00pm ride close. Many guests purposefully visit on quieter days to ensure they get "best value". Alton are simply cutting this "value" aspect by closing earlier.

I had the chance to visit during February opening with 3 adult friends and a young girl, aged 6. We visited most attractions during the day but, even with limited rides and only 30 minutes for lunch, we only got chance to re-ride one attraction - Nemesis. This was with minimal queues.

With typical family faff, poor navigational skills around the park, many people are not going to get on much at all.

It is bitterly disappointing. I live only 20 miles from the park, but even for me it costs £8.00 return petrol.

If I do visit and the park closes at 4:00pm at any stage, I shall be complaining at Guest Services.


Thanks Dan!

Very helpful (I'm not used to writing letters of complaint, I dont do it very often! :P ) - have amended my letter above to make it more focused :)
Image

Thanks to Ian for the sig!
 
User avatar
Benzin
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 609
Joined: February 2011
Location: Stafford

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:02 pm

Lol, just lol...

Oh well, least ERT is still an option... But to close at 4pm on a Sunday is just sheer daftness really... As I think someone mentioned, why not remove ERT on the offpeak days (when you have about 2 people on Nemesis) and keep the 5pm close?

6 hours is all well and fine during Half Term when half the park is shut, but nah... Not if people want to take their time and not rush around...

Shame Merlin don't see the benefit in closing Chessie completely during offpeak periods, that would save a TON of money instead of doing 10-5 times for 200 people...
Image
 
jeymZ
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 110
Joined: July 2007
Location: Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:06 pm

4pm is absolutely scandalous. I only ever visit on those quiter days, and when you've travelled the 3 hours (6 there and back) to get there, to only have 6 hours in the park is so pathetic it's funny. £7 an hour... and that's before they rip you off on parking and food. I refuse to visit the park until this change is reversed. I'm not trying to be a martyr, but I refuse to give my hard-earned money to a business that shows time and time again how money hungry it is and cares so little about my experience on the day. No Alton for me this year!
 
CoasterCrazyChris
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2884
Joined: July 2008
Location: Bristol

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:10 pm

I'm not defending Merlin or their decision in any way, but when analysing costs in regards to a negative issue it is funny how everyone always uses the full £42.00 entrance price.....when in reality just about everyone gets in for half that.
 
User avatar
Magrathea
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1262
Joined: August 2010
Location: Weston-super-Mare

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:11 pm

Stelios7 wrote:
A move that could of been expected by some. I think this could work out well for staff and the GP. Pleasing both of them. If any earlier I would expect a discount. I hope this will not happen. I'm not happy or angry over it really.


I don't quite understand...

Staff are now going to earn significantly less money, and the GP are going to have less time to spend on park? How does this work out well for either? :?
Image
Image
 
User avatar
BigAl
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2262
Joined: June 2010
Location: South East Cheshire
Contact:

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:12 pm

Anyone remember Nick Varney's interview on Radio 4?

The topic regarding this interview: http://forum.towerstimes.co.uk/merlin-attractions/nick-varney-on-bbcr4-today-'the-single-biggest-issue-is-vat'/

He stated that theme parks (specifically Merlin parks) are the best value for entertainment. Ha.
 
AstroDan

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:13 pm

Benzin wrote:
Lol, just lol...

Oh well, least ERT is still an option... But to close at 4pm on a Sunday is just sheer daftness really... As I think someone mentioned, why not remove ERT on the offpeak days (when you have about 2 people on Nemesis) and keep the 5pm close?

6 hours is all well and fine during Half Term when half the park is shut, but nah... Not if people want to take their time and not rush around...

Shame Merlin don't see the benefit in closing Chessie completely during offpeak periods, that would save a TON of money instead of doing 10-5 times for 200 people...


Nail on head.

Chessington literally gets sub 1,000 guests on some days (in fact often a lot less than even that) yet the park opens.

They would be best closing Chessington during April/May/September/October Tues and Wednesday for example. That would probably save them a fortune rather than squeezing the UK's biggest park like this, so it has to close at 4:00pm.

Ugh! The more I think about it the more depressing this all is!

:(
 
User avatar
danny13
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 166
Joined: February 2010

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:40 pm

This is hugely disappointing for a theme park like Alton. There is no excuse for not opening until at least 5pm on Sunday's. As for weekdays, if they felt the need to shorten the day by an hour, as people have suggested, why not just remove ERT for these days? With a 4pm close, you can't exactly get much rides in if the queues are big and people will be annoyed to travel the distance and pay such a high price for entrance.  :?
Image
 
PeteB
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 3525
Joined: July 2006
Location: Sunderland
Contact:

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:04 pm

Well this sucks all round, but what really grinds on me is the summer times.  Reduced from 7pm to 6pm.  I was hoping to see this extended more one day soon, not reduced. So, I guess we can forget warm summer nights at Alton Towers.

Heck, I think this summer I'll go to Disneyland Paris and Europa as it's now clearer than ever that people who run Alton Towers don't even have 2 brain cells to rub together!

Even Flamingoland stay open til 7pm!
 
User avatar
Stelios7
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2634
Joined: June 2011
Location: Somewhere near Disney Land Stafford. I mean... err... Derbyshire.
Contact:

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:15 pm

AstwoDan wrote:
Stelios, I don't understand you whatsoever.

Firstly, much of your post makes little sense. And secondly, how is my comment Merlin bashing. Do tell me. Your post seems to half praise their investment and then start demanding they leave!?
Sent from my HTC Desire HD A9191 using Tapatalk


Oh I meant my post earlier was a light Merlin bash. Sorry about the mishap. And yeah, I go over both sides as I am trying to get my head around the issue.

Magrathea wrote:
Stelios7 wrote:
A move that could of been expected by some. I think this could work out well for staff and the GP. Pleasing both of them. If any earlier I would expect a discount. I hope this will not happen. I'm not happy or angry over it really.


I don't quite understand...

Staff are now going to earn significantly less money, and the GP are going to have less time to spend on park? How does this work out well for either? :?


And I guess I didn't think that one through, oops! :P
Last edited by Stelios7 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Officially, TTF's Only EasyJet founder.
 
Dormiens-Dave

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm

PeteB wrote:

it's now clearer than ever that people who run Alton Towers don't even have 2 brain cells to rub together!



You see this was my worry when we went to release this on the news system, having worked a little with Towers management on the Archives tour and seeing the positive response we have had to the Birthday event Towers management (including the upper management) seem really enthusiastic about the park and its success (including giving up their own time on the future event). This just smacks of demands put on by distant paper pushers from Merlin.

I would put money on this being a either a Merlin decision OR due to strong demands by Merlin to save money (please note i have no evidence of this its just my gut feeling).
Last edited by Dormiens-Dave on Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
AstroDan

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:47 pm

As Dave says. I actually do not really hold the park responsible for this. I place the blame 95% in Merlin Entertainments court.

Ultimately, they should seek to ensure the parks can continue a regular operation.

Sent from my HTC Desire HD A9191 using Tapatalk
 
User avatar
swes
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 74
Joined: August 2009
Location: 1hour 40 from the magic

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:02 pm

I guess with the economic climate the way it is at the moment even big parks like Alton are feeling the pinch. Just to cut the wage bills by an hour a day would save the park a fair amount of money. Don't forget we are getting some rides which don't come cheap and I'm sure in the future full days will return in the off peak seasons. But the cuts in opening  hours does suck plums!!
Alton Towers where wonders never cease
 
User avatar
BigAl
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2262
Joined: June 2010
Location: South East Cheshire
Contact:

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:16 pm

The negative impact is being felt by all parks, not just Merlin's parks and they aren't cutting the hours that the park is open. Merlin are making good profits, so there's no real reason to do this, other than to fill their wallets further. Well, it's either them or Alton that have made this decision, and I do hope that it's not the latter.
 
User avatar
ponder
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 611
Joined: June 2009
Location: Nr Colchester, Essex
Contact:

Re: Park Opening Hours 2012

Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:40 pm

To put forward an analogy:

During the last trading year, one of the UK's largest retailers, in an increasingly difficult economy, elected to reduce operational costs and payroll in an attempt to save money from their budget and appease the stock market. The result was them posting the worst set of accounts in over a decade and their stock value dropping to a little over £3 a share. The response has been to invest heavily in to payroll this year in order to drive trade.

The moral of the story? You get out what you put in.

Watch and learn, Merlin. You can only reduce operational costs to a point, if you go too far the effect will be negative and the results can be crippling. Improve operations, improve payroll, and you can retain your existing customer base and expand. Shrink your outgoings, and you risk doing far more harm than good.
Last edited by ponder on Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image

Loop - Roller coaster and Theme Park inspired T-shirts
http://looptees.com / https://www.facebook.com/looptps
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 21

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 274 guests