UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:30 pm

Jordan wrote:
I love the changes/fixes to Duel this season. Great to see the pillar demon has been restored.

It would be fantastic to see these small improvements and changes continue. :)


I have to agree with you! It is also really dark in parts of the ride now when I was sitting at the back, I kept looking around and looking behind me. I to be honest I was a little scared! :)
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jason10
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:04 pm

As much as I admire him, I do think John Wardley's name is thrown about far too much. It seems as though whenever there is a problem, John Wardley should be called to magically fix it. He has made a great contribution to the industry and Alton Towers but he's not the answer to everything. He's milked far too much. Other people will come along that will have some other great ideas that can match or even surpass his. Duel is looking great this year and I personally loved my rides on it! However, just because the audio isn't working as well as it did or the blasters cut out too early, doesn't mean there is only one man who can fix it. Yes, the Haunted House may have been a great ride and John may have had some fantastic ideas, but he shouldn't be called upon for everything. Just my personally opinion.
 
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roary01
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:10 pm

My reasoning for bring his name up, he had the Vision for the Haunted House, he knew how it should look, and if people want the original to return properly then they should get the man who made the ride what it was, no one else will know exactly his vision for every aspect of the ride..

thats my opinion..
 
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mrbrightside
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:27 pm

AstroDan wrote:
I agree that most people "love" the shooting aspect. But frankly that's only because they are there. I reckon you'd get just as many people going on Duel if the ride had never had the blasters added.

I recall the reasons mooted for the retheme was to make it more re-rideable. I guess it sort of achieves this, but come on - the ride has just as short queues now as it ever did as the Haunted House AND it has less capacity than the old ride, too!

Duel worked for about 1 or 2 years at getting higher queues, but really, 9 years on, I would pretty much say that the addition of lasers and guns failed entirely.

:)
I suppose I partly agree with you... People don't go on it *because* of the blasters, though when people walk past in a group with people who are not in the know it is often described as "that haunted house with the cool shooty guns." However, how many people would just go on it because it's a haunted house?

Blasters or no blasters, I think the ride would probably receive the same length of queue. Partially because it's a throughput eating monster, and partly because the old-style 'Haunted House' as well as the old-style 'LED Laser Shooting' rides are outdated. The original HH was becoming outdated, so they added lasers. Now lasers could be argued to be outdated.

I wouldn't say that adding the lasers was a negative step to make - as it added extra interest in the attraction and (despite it's lack of queues), I would say that it has maintained a good level of popularity.

The only way it will receive queues is if the entire thing is replaced or dramatically changed. Haunted House rides would need to be much scarier these days to entice people on for scares and shooting rides need to be much more immersive to encourage people onto them (a ride like Toy Story Mania shows how they can evolve - although something of that calibre would never be expected to be attempted by Towers).

Not sure what I'm really getting at here anyway! Though I don't think the blasters have made the ride fail - as I think the ride is the kind of thing that due to location, throughput and age, will just simply plod along being a fantastic filler attraction for years to come.
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:38 pm

mrbrightside wrote:
will just simply plod along being a fantastic filler attraction for years to come.


But it shouldn't just be a 'filler', it should be a major attraction in its own right.

Or are we of mentality that only coasters can be star attractions?
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:22 pm

CoasterCrazyChris wrote:
mrbrightside wrote:
will just simply plod along being a fantastic filler attraction for years to come.


But it shouldn't just be a 'filler', it should be a major attraction in its own right.

Or are we of mentality that only coasters can be star attractions?
It's a theme park. To the general public, anything that is not a coaster is a filler attraction... Something to do in-between the major rides. Enthusiasts love dark rides, they tend to tell great stories, or be well-themed, or offere exciting and different experiences. The general public also love them, but usually because they are indoors and allow for a 5 minute break from the rest of the park.

Yes, it would be lovely for the haunted house to be a major attraction in its own right, but unless it receives one hell of a revamp, it will remain how it is - enjoyed and loved by many, but simply plodding along. Something I am fine with.

The same thing goes for Hex, and will also ring true of Sub Terra. Hex rarely has queues longer than one full cycle these days, and by the end of 2014 I predict Sub Terra won't peak above 15 minutes on most days.

Dark rides do not remain 'star' attractions for long - unless they are changed every few seasons, and even if they are, changes do not have the 'pull' of a new coaster or other attraction.
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:34 pm

mrbrightside wrote:
It's a theme park. To the general public, anything that is not a coaster is a filler attraction...


Um...Harry Potter?

I wouldn't exactly say that Duel was loved by many either - it's tired, dated and borderline tacky. There are glimmers of magic there.. the facade, queueline, and selected scenes/props but the ride is a mess and is completely discounted by most people save a few trigger happy preteens.

We all know what it needs, but as pointed out it is just not marketable to make the investment worthwhile.
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:34 pm

mrbrightside wrote:
Dark rides do not remain 'star' attractions for long - unless they are changed every few seasons, and even if they are, changes do not have the 'pull' of a new coaster or other attraction.


I disagree, I believe that to be a mentality unique to the UK. Possibly because the dark rides on offer (besides Hex and arguably Sub Terra) aren't in the same league as those available abroad. A dark ride can be a headline attraction, a large part of the appeal in visiting a park, as can potentially a water ride. They just have to be well done.

Prime examples being Islands of Adventure's Forbidden Journey and Spiderman 4D rides, heavily advertised and quite possibly the best two known rides in the park. This is because they're of such significant quality and broad appeal that they're guaranteed to appeal, and they're marketed as headline attractions to boot. Similarly, the iconic attraction at Disneyland Studios Paris is undoubtedly Tower of Terror.

Fact is, Alton Towers don't market their 'experience' rides as headliners, and that's the main reason as to why they don't get particularly noticed, combined partly with their unwillingness to spend the same amount of money on a dark ride than they are a coaster, unlike these foreign parks. Nonetheless, considering how well-liked Sub Terra now is (in a way that Hex never really was, in terms of the general public), it might encourage more investment into this type of ride.

In my opinion, dark rides have more potential as star attractions than coasters; they boast broader appeal, generally superior throughput and a changeable, perhaps more re-rideable, experience which will retain popularity if properly built, advertised and maintained.

The UK needs one of it's parks to take a risk and spend a decent amount on a dark ride. Not necessarily Alton though, and not necessarily a Duel replacement. Alton should have higher priorities than changing a ride which remains perfectly decent.
Last edited by Pennywise on Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:48 pm

I have rode Duel several times in the past week, and on one of the occasions, my Blaster, & the rest in the car, were not functioning. The scores from the previous riders was emblazoned on several of the displays, however it did not reset for the new riders (me). I was disappointed, when I pointed this out to the staff member at the exit, that they were aware of that issue with the car(s) & I should rejoin the queue to ride again.

Surely, they should take that car out of use, or at the very least, when it arrives in the station, not load riders onto it?
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:13 pm

Nail on the head their D4n.

D4n wrote:
The UK needs one of it's parks to take a risk a spend a decent amount on a dark ride. Not necessarily Alton though, and not necessarily a Duel replacement. Alton should have higher priorities than changing a ride which remains perfectly decent.


I've said for a while now that it should be Chessington. They can't build big rides and their limited to an all age market so building Dark Rides would be the perfect solution. They also already have two dark rides that in a former life were voted very highly which means they have the infrastructure in place to do it.

Unfortunately at the moment there seems to be no drive to do anything at Chessington. The parks getting along well enough with minimum investment. The odd thing is I’m actually hoping that the park will see a downturn like the one it faced when Tussauds were running it which forced them to invest big and become a Theme Park in the first place. However it’s a bit risky to hope for that as there’s also a chance Merlin could just sell the park. I get the feeling it won’t last long without Merlin’s financial life support.

Anyway back to the Duel :oops:
It’s a solid ride and does its job. The ride system is great (<3 Mack) and should definitely remain. I’d like them to keep the front facade as well (including the internal queue). Everything else I don’t mind if it changes. In fact it would be quite interesting to see the ride get another re-theme only this time have it done properly by someone who like Wardley has a background in theatre or creating atmospheric settings.
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:11 pm

In its 20th year the ride system is doing great! The ride is still very enjoyable and the recent nods to the old Haunted House are a good touch. I can't see Duel going anywhere in the medium-term.. Although it is sitting on a valuable bit of blank development land as other areas slowly get eaten up.  ;)
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:36 pm

Probably the only reason I still go on Duel is because it's a good ride for after lunch. Honestly, the only part that keeps me entertained is that sort of 'illusion' part in the middle if you will. There's nothing scary or haunting about it. I understand it's a family ride but for gods sake my little cousin isn't even phased by it. There's such potential in that ride, they just need to realise that. I don't think we're going to see an improvement in Duel until SW7 is done.

But for some reason I go on it every time. Maybe it has a subconcious tacky charm on me.
 
AstroDan

Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:33 pm

Efteling is another good park to look at for Dark Rides.

There, Dreamflight, Fata Morgana and even Carnaval Festival get hefty queues and are some of the most popular attractions in the park!

:)
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:43 pm

Efteling, Islands of Adventure, EPCOT, Disneyland California and DisneySea are all parks where a dark ride is the most popular ride on park, it can be done!
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:50 pm

I know I've only been to Efteling once, but when I went last year the dark rides were all walk on, while the coasters were over an hour. I'm guessing that's not normal. :lol:
 
AstroDan

Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:52 pm

That isn't normal. On all three of my visits to the park, Dreamflight has had long queues!

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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:59 pm

Well with regards to this season the ride has generally been brilliant, and the best it has been for years! But is it perfect?

Not yet.

I'd say all the changes made to the themeing this season have been great, and have improved the ride no end, proving that the themeing is essential to making a good ride. However, I did notice a few issues yesterday:

  • The Pillar Demon's audio was much quieter than it was two weeks ago.
  • The ride system seemed to be having a lot of issues throughout the day, with a few near stops, and some times when it did.
  • The 2nd dining room demon is still broken.
  • The dining table didn't seem to be doing as much as it usually does (Though I'm not certain why)
  • One of the new LED strobes in the spider room remains on far too long at first, and lets you see the whole area and mechanisms.
  • Part way through the day the main audio seemed to have a fail, with some areas going very quiet, and the music being only bass at some points (Though it was fine first thing in the morning, so I've no idea what happened there!)

Also, how long have those laser sound effects played in the trommel, as yesterday was the first time I can recall hearing them?

There are certainly lots of positives, such as the various pieces of new audio, and the reinstated effects. I just hope that Towers will pour some money into the ride in the coming seasons so yet more improvements can be made. Some areas are starting to look very dated and tired now (mainly replacing those awful flame effect lights in the furnace which do absolutely nothing!).

There is so much potential for the ride. If Towers were to just relaunch the ride once, then set in place a scheme to constantly refresh and improve different aspects I'm confident it'd be able to keep guests coming back on it's own. Seems to work for the likes of Disney :P (And yes, I realise Towers can never throw that scale of budget at an attraction year on year, but something is better than nothing)
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Kaycee

Re: Duel - General Discussion

Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:59 pm

Duel made me feel a little bit warm when I rode yesterday. :D :) Oooh a little bit of sex wee came out!! .......... joke. *rolls eyes*

I have been hoping quietly this would be happening. Loving the small touches of the HH being put back. The Pillar Demon with its Sexy Strobe has always been my particular favourite feature of Duel/HH, but most of the time it doesn't work. Now that's working, and one of the zombies has had its shirt taken off - I love buff zombies!

I rarely use the blasters these days. They are redundant! Duel is in the best shape its been in for years. :)
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:38 am

One thing they do absolutely need to get working again is the vortex machines (smell pots), and also fix the timing on a number of effects. For some reason the screaming room has been badly out of sync with the cars for the last couple of seasons.

I think we're ready for Haunted House v3.0 now though. Keep the ride system and layout, update the existing scenes, effects and theming, and add a 3-4 brand new scenes. Totally revamp the indoor queue and give the whole thing a new storyline and a new name. Maybe spend a million on it?

So basically they could just do exactly what they did when it changed to Duel, but actually do a good job this time. They'll have a new ride to advertise (just like they did with Duel) and then everyone's happy - keeps enthusiasts happy, towers have new earner, and the GP get a new-ish experience.

Oh, and they absolutely have to return the ride system back to the multi-speed version.
 
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Re: Duel - General Discussion

Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:16 am

... and get rid of the stupid shooting thing and make it a traditional dark ride.

Then repeat the process for Tomb Blaster.

Sorry... not a fan of the shooting rides!
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