UK theme parks from another point of view!

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Vik
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:58 pm

Couple of things to note today :-

There seems to be an issue with the video on Hex.  Is very pixelated, and lots of areas that are just red.  Very difficult to actually see any picture.  My thought was it looked like the video had been ran through a Sinclair Spectrum or some similar 8 bit machine.  On the plus side, the sound in the vault was much louder than it has been previously.  It now drowns out the noise of the groaning and creaking.  Still has some difficulty parking.

Park is getting ready for Sundays Traveller visit.  With metal detectors being placed at the entrance, of course the alcohol ban on Sunday, and suggestions of bag searches too, though that needs to be clarified.  Much more visible security at Hotels, with security ensuring the hotels are strictly residents only tonight and tomorrow.

As mentioned already, water cannons on the rapids, not far before the final bend.  £1 a pop, but sure they will get plenty of use.
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CoasterCrazyChris
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:03 pm

Vik wrote:

As mentioned already, water cannons on the rapids, not far before the final bend.


Just before the waterfalls?
 
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JoshC
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:40 pm

CoasterCrazyChris wrote:
Vik wrote:

As mentioned already, water cannons on the rapids, not far before the final bend.


Just before the waterfalls?


They're just after the waterfalls :P
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djtruefitt

Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:59 pm

I dont know if anything has been done to the Nemesis sound system over closed season, but yesterday the music was very loud across the whole of the valley. I think the speakers around the rapids and minetrain were replaced over the closed season, so not sure if the ones near Nemesis have been done to? The only problem with that is that its hard to hear the videos in the sub terra queue line.
 
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mrbrightside
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Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:26 pm

Nemmy's theme was blasting out of the queue line entrance last week. Sounded absolutely fantastic!


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roary01
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:01 pm

Just back from the park today, noticed some nice changes around the park, however one thing although its only a small thing, all the lights along Haunted Hollow have been taken off and are now just posts??

anyone know why? maybe it will be closed for night-time openings?
 
Coaster_Dude
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:16 pm

From what I remember from walking down there last Scarefest, most of the lights didn't work anyway and it was a nightmare walking down in the dark!
 
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:44 pm

During the first day of scarefest all the lights had coloured gels on them, but that made the whole area pitch black, so later during scarefest they were removed and just left clear. Not sure if anything else has happend to them during closed season. I hope this scarefest they put some extra lighting down there as it was a accident waiting to happen last year. Even just some of the hanging lights like they have on the paths near Duel would work.
 
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:18 pm

djtruefitt wrote:
I dont know if anything has been done to the Nemesis sound system over closed season, but yesterday the music was very loud across the whole of the valley. I think the speakers around the rapids and minetrain were replaced over the closed season, so not sure if the ones near Nemesis have been done to? The only problem with that is that its hard to hear the videos in the sub terra queue line.

Nah I think the volume is just louder, and sub terra queue could be turned up to compensate!
 
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Stelios7
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:49 pm

Coaster_Dude wrote:
From what I remember from walking down there last Scarefest, most of the lights didn't work anyway and it was a nightmare walking down in the dark!


Yeah, the lighting hasn't been the best. Walking down on Scarefest day one, I was lucky to see the mass mob of TTF'ers heading straight for me! I do hope there are the odd light scattered about.
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jackgcse
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:53 pm

What was with the new ERT structure? Everyone was allowed in the park however you had to show your ticket/pass to gain access to the ERT rides? It thought it caused a lot of hassle and confusion, and possibly cause irritations with standard guests that think they can get on some rides, but find out they actually can't!
Besides that the park looked, tidy and well maintained, however it was a bit of a shame to see simply black boards to cover the black hole area!
 
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:19 pm

The new ERT way is currently a trial for 6 weeks I think.

Anyone with ERT (hotel guests, pre-booked tickets and annual pass holders) enter the park at 9am through the right hand gates. Then at 9.30am all other guests are let into the park. But at the ride enterances you have to show your ticket or annual pass to get on a ride. Then at 10am all the rides open to everyone.

The reason for this is to stop the mass gathering of people at the bottom of towers street for 10am, which stopped ERT guests getting through and also caused problems with people getting crushed.

There are some good bits about the new system, but also some bad parts. I dont like having to show my card every time I go on a ride, especially if I keep going on the same rides during ERT. Also after 9.30am all the rides start to get queues, so if you are doing ERT you have to keep pushing past people to get on the ride.

A few changes I think should be done:
- Have clear signs at the enterance above EACH gate, the best system would be to use plasma TVs or screens that can be easiorly changed during the day. That way on a busy day they can have more gates open for ERT/Annual pass holders
- When you have ERT or an annual pass they should stamp your hand (like they do at Thorpe), that way you can just show your hand at the ride enterance.
 
Bunbury
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:27 am

If the rides are open from 9 for ERT anyway, I wish they would just open the rest from 930 anyway, as they once did.
 
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danny13
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:10 pm

I prefer the old system. But for me I would rather they only let ERT guests into the park from 9 and then let everyone else in up to the bottom of Towers Street from half 9 so that the people arriving with ERT before that do not have to push through to get in. I don't like that non ERT people can get into the park and it slows the process of getting on the rides IMO.
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djtruefitt

Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:15 pm

I went to the park today, and its now slightly more confusing if you have an annual pass and come after ERT. I was at the park about 10.15. They have removed the annual pass gate on the left, and the ERT gate on the right is closed after 10am. So you just have to go to anyone who has a hand held terminal to let you through.
 
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Roodlesnouter
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:29 pm

Iv'e had 2 trips to the park so far this season.

On both occasions the monorail was down at the start of the day, the first time was up again in about thirty minutes, the second time however it was down for significantly longer. Luckily I heard the announcement before I got to the station so decided to walk. Staff were walking the line and I noticed it was still down whilst I was In forbidden valley, way after park opening. Must of been a few disgruntled guests that day. I just missed out on some valuable ERT!

Talking of ERT on the same 2 trips anyone was being aloud on the rides, no one was checking for passes, further more the queues were already big for rides not yet open, as guest were all already on park. They even had staff telling guests MAP or GP which rides they could ride now. you used to be able to get a few rides in (non ERT) between 10-11 at the back of the park before guest got near enough for the queues to build.

After whoring Nemmy for most of ERT I headed down to Air at about 9.45 and the queue was 20+ mins already.

I spoke to guest services who explained that there was a  new system on a 6 week trial (as already posted in this thread). He went on to say they seemed to be happy with the way it was going and would probably keep it in place.

I told him I felt it gave less value than before to Map holders, yet the price for this season has gone up....

In response to all gusts getting on rides he assured me that staff should be checking, he also advised to use fast track entrances......
Last edited by Roodlesnouter on Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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James
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:13 pm

After my first visit to Alton Towers last week here's my own reflection of the positives and negatives at the theme park this year.

The Positives
+ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
I must say compared to 2011 Charlie is looking better than ever this year. Effects such as the waterfall have been fixed. The scents were working in the station area. The lifts are in great working order. The ride as a whole has improved greatly and I welcome the fixtures that have taken place. I was under the assumption last year that the theme park management has no intentions of maintaining the ride. The condition of the ride this year shows to me that management are still aware it still exists.

My two negatives, where's the themed uniform? I was highly disappointed to see staff wearing the generic Alton Towers uniform, the themed coats were great, I'm not quite sure why they have been dropped? My other negative is that the right hand lift creaked incredibly while 'starting up', it sounded awful, I hope this gets fixed (surly it's a matter of a good spray of WD40?) soon, it does somewhat detract from the experience.

+ Duel
Duel is looking great this year, further improvements have made this a more interesting ride. I've also noticed original sound effects from the Haunted House have been added to Duel now, such as the 'are you scared of spiders' audio, which brings a nice new sound to the ride while also giving us enthusiasts some good old nostalgia. The removal of the strobe light after the spinning tunnel is very welcome too! You can no longer see the black walls or fire exit lit up in front of you, great work! The new gun clickers are interesting too, although I found them harder to use, that could just be more of an opinion though rather than anything that could be deemed as negative.

+ Merchandise/Memorabilia
It's great to see new merchandise added to Alton Towers. I need not have much to say here apart from that I'm pleased to see new things added. Such as the build your own Oblivion pack and Duel gun blasters. The improved Th13teen mugs look great too!

+ The Towers
The Towers as always are looking great. My mum said that a staff member that told her that the front of the Towers has been cleaned (sand blasted?). I noticed it looked cleaner myself although it took a while to notice this. The further improvements around the Towers such as new windows and such are highly welcomed and it's nice to see Alton are continuing to restore parts of the Towers. I hope one day in future Alton thing of putting the Towers to some good use, starting with advertising the place more.


The Negatives
- Hex
What can I say about Hex this year? It's looking worse for wear. The main video is the obvious problem. I know Alton are aware of this so I need not to go into much detail here. I found the video hard to watch at parts, and while other guests did not notice so much I thought it made the narrative hard to follow clearly.  Other than that the Octagon room seems to be missing some effects, such as the water, I know some effects have been broken for a good while however it would be great to get these things back up and working - it would add a lot to the experience. The main vault seems to be slow at parking too, although again I know Alton are aware of this issue.

- Dark Forest
Dark Forest, more like light open out Forest. The place is looking awful this year. The vines that Alton fixed around the entrance arch and also on the Th13teen building have now been removed, leaving bare areas and screws visible all over the place. It was particularly noticeable on the Th13teen station, screws everywhere did not look good at all and detracted from the theme greatly. However the rest of the area as it stands isn't too bad. My views still stand as they have been since 2010, the area needs a supporting flat ride and needs more theming features to enhance the theme.

- Th13teen
This was probably just a matter of something on the day, however the smoke between the transfer track and returning to the station was not working? I was slightly disappointed about this. There seems to be theming missing from the queue line area too, such as the Th13teen girl, my brother noticed a object in the tress behind where Th13teen girl is meant to be situated, we're not sure if it's just a matter of this piece of theming being blown away due to high winds? If so, it would be nice to see it put back in its place.  One welcome positive though is that I LOVE the smoke effect in the crypt, it's hard to notice but it does look great. 

- Towers Street
I'm not quite sure what to make of this area these days. The upselling obviously detracts from any type of escapism.  However the music is extremely quiet in this area too. On my two day visit on both days I could not hear the music at all, it was on, just very faint. The Towers Street music should be booming through the area, it's the first impression that counts! Sort it out Alton, get that music louder! Other than that as the area has looked for many years it's looking very old and worn out, and if I'm honest could be done with a complete revamp.

- The Monorail
I'm not quite sure what has happened with the Monorail this year? The trains just seem to be lacking of any care or attention. I found that some of the vinyl was ripped off the exteriors of some of the trains. The removal of themed audio has also ruined the trains too. Going on to the pirate train you have a mixture of the pirate sound effects then you have this generic marketing audio playing after it, very disappointing. The new videos are not that exciting either, and the theme park Monorail station could do with some new TVs, the current ones look awful. The stations themselves are looking worse for wear too. They are in desperate need of a modern overhaul. Again the first impressions aren't set out that well anymore. 

- Theme Park Audio
What's happened with the audio across the park? Everything has seemed to have been turned down incredibly. All the music in each area is so quiet, apart from Cloud Cuckoo Land, Nemesis  inside the dark rides music is very quiet across the park. Areas such as Gloomy Wood you cannot hear the area audio at all. It's very disappointing.

Neutral
+- Sharkbait Reef
On my Monday visit last week to Sharkbait Reef was fantastic. It was empty in there and is the first time I've really been able to admire the theming Alton Towers and Merlin are capable of within a tight budget. It's so beautifully themed in there. Although I have one little niggle, the Th13teen tank, which has now had it's theming removed, why? It wasn't doing much harm before so I'm quite confused as to why it has been removed.

+- Entertainments
I'm quite impressed with the entertainments team this year, there have been plenty of themed characters around the park and the pirate show from short viewing looks as good as ever this year. The addition of the pirate in the little boat going around Towers Street and Mutiny Bay is great too! (I read somewhere he's called Pirate Pete? Not sure if that's true or not) Reminded me very much of Musical Ruth. A great addition!

My negative as always, the resort lacks entertainment so much, the park is in real need of a year round big production show that suits all ages. I'm pulling out my Ice Show card here, something like that NEEDS to be at the resort. A show that everyone can watch and enjoy, something that last 20+ minutes and can be a good sit down show. The entertainments team is in desperate need of a bigger budget. I'm sure if they were given the budget we would be seeing great things from them. I'm impressed with what they do now given with not much of a budget although really in the long run more investment needs to be pumped in.

+-Towers Trading
I love the new queue system in Towers Trading. It really is fantastic and makes queuing far easier. Before it was a free for all, now you actually queue and get served in an order. The themed sound effects in the queue is great too and with each counter having a different sound effect I admire little details such as that.

Now we move on to the negatives, playing pop music... it just doesn't do it for me. They preferably need to play the Towers Street music in here, or some other themed music, not Beyonce! The pop music takes me back to the real world, at Alton Towers there should be no hints of the real world, just the escapism that the marketing thrives to put across to guests. I am also very disappointed to see the removal of the Runaway Mine Train theming that ran across the shop. I do not understand why it's been removed at all, get it back in there please! It was again a great little detail that added a lot to the shop.
 
Coaster_Dude
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:03 pm

James wrote:

+ Duel
I've also noticed original sound effects from the Haunted House have been added to Duel now, such as the 'are you scared of spiders' audio, which brings a nice new sound to the ride while also giving us enthusiasts some good old nostalgia.


I'm pretty sure that isn't new this season, I've heard that clip in that section of Duel for a while, although it might have been the case that it wasn't working for the last season or two and they've got it back running again, it's definitely been in Duel previously though.
 
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James
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Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:06 pm

Coaster_Dude wrote:
James wrote:

+ Duel
I've also noticed original sound effects from the Haunted House have been added to Duel now, such as the 'are you scared of spiders' audio, which brings a nice new sound to the ride while also giving us enthusiasts some good old nostalgia.


I'm pretty sure that isn't new this season, I've heard that clip in that section of Duel for a while, although it might have been the case that it wasn't working for the last season or two and they've got it back running again, it's definitely been in Duel previously though.


Ah yes, it may have been in there for a while. It's the first time I've noticed it on Duel. I can't recall hearing the clip before although it may just be a case of me not noticing such things last season. :)
 
djtruefitt

Re: Alton Towers 2012 in Review

Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:42 pm

I noticed the other day that the bell wasnt working on the mine train.

I agree that the music around the park seems a bit hit and miss this year. Nemesis and Katanya canyon seems really loud, yet Towers Street is really quite. You used to be able to hear it across the park, now you can hardly hear it even on Towers Street!
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