UK theme parks from another point of view!

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Dan
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:14 am

Three ‘show pods’ have appeared on the grass near the Goal Striker building this morning.

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Justin
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:22 am

I don't think these are right for Alton at all and I am not a fan of the set up. While I haven't seen inside one, I don't think I can stand sleeping in a box room with 1 double and 2 singles.

I really hope they are priced cheaply for families who can't usually access Alton's accommodation offering and need budget alternatives. I do believe this will push up the premium on Enchanted Village and the hotels though, as it has already happened with the lodges and I can see it happening again!  I'm expecting Splash Landings to increase by at least 30%! This will make or break the accommodation offerings, but I do fear many will be priced out!
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Tom170499
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:18 pm

They look like something from B&Q. This really is a terrible idea, and completely unnecessary. There are so many issues that need sorting with the theme park and existing hotels before building more accommodation.
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:43 pm

As reported by TowersTimes Facebook; Three Stargazing Pods have been installed on the lawns in front of the Towers Ruins, next to the Goalstriker unit, giving guests a preview of the new accommodation due to open next to the Enchanted Village in spring 2019.

Featuring a basic layout, including one double and two single beds, power sockets and lighting, it is expected the Stargazing Pods will be Alton Towers’ cheapest accommodation offering.

Will you be planning a stay in the pods when they open?

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Robert.W
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:04 pm

Is it just me, or does the double bed at the back look and bit too short and the two single beds at the front look a bit too narrow? Either way, just as I suspected, zero theming. Absolutely nothing unique or "magical" about these. Even as pod accommodation, they could have been executed to a much higher standard, especially on the interiors.
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Swarm Chris
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:50 pm

So do these sheds have any heating in them? Or are they going to be lovely and damp for all but the maximum 1 month a year when it's warm and dry in Staffordshire.

And the prize winners will get to stay in them in March? Hope they give them lots of blankets...
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Robert.W
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:55 pm

I don't know about heating, but they'll have insulation. Possibly too small to have any proper heating? 
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Swarm Chris
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:58 pm

Robert.W wrote:
I don't know about heating, but they'll have insulation. Possibly too small to have any proper heating? 

I can't imagine insulation will do much if the overnight temperature is below 5c and the daytime temperature barely got above 10c all day.

Any heating would have to be electric fan heaters and there doesn't seem to be enough room to have those safely installed, unless there's a little unit above the door.
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Robert.W
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:01 pm

Yeah... I don't imagine these being very popular during the 8 or so winter months the UK traditionally gets.

I have to say, if these show pods have been set up to make people want to stay in them, they're successfully doing exactly the opposite of that. 
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NemeJaney
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:08 pm

While they do look both adorable and non-invasive on the outside, the interior is very basic. You'd like to hope they'll be very cheap, especially if you're in the pods that are furthest away from the toilets!

That being said, if you were a guest with a toilet-related condition (whether an official disability, sudden onset or other), it would be unfair to have to pay extra just because of your biological situation. I suppose in this respect they're just like tents in a campsite, minus the option to keep a bucket inside! As long as lodges closer to the facilities are at least prioritised for those with such conditions it might be OK.

On another note, there seems to be a lot of disappointment around the expectation of a roof window but, as others have mentioned before, it would be no good with clouds/light pollution/trees.

Anyway, it's early days yet and there's still plenty of room for adjustment. :)
 
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lewis97
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:14 pm

Swarm Chris wrote:
Robert.W wrote:
I don't know about heating, but they'll have insulation. Possibly too small to have any proper heating? 

I can't imagine insulation will do much if the overnight temperature is below 5c and the daytime temperature barely got above 10c all day.

Any heating would have to be electric fan heaters and there doesn't seem to be enough room to have those safely installed, unless there's a little unit above the door.

The planning documents did say that the pods would have heating. Can't recall any details beyond that though.
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Swarm Chris
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:27 pm

lewis97 wrote:
The planning documents did say that the pods would have heating. Can't recall any details beyond that though.


Well hopefully the heating aspect has been thought through. Was surprised that they were intending on opening them in the spring, I'd had thought they would have opened them later in the year like the Chessington glamping.
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Ladyofthelake
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:27 pm

I'm really not sure what to make of these. It kind of seems like Merlin wanted to add something like the Glamping Chessington and Warwick Castle have, but knew they couldn't really install tents at Alton Towers, therefore have gone for the pods instead as a kind of next step up. Whilst the accomodation isn't to my personal taste, and I can't see myself staying in them - mainly due to having to use a shared bathroom facility, I can see the pods appealing to those who may typically go on camping type holidays and may be used to the shared bathroom type set up.

Whilst we obviously don't know what the finished product will be in terms of the Stargazing side of things, I can see both sides of the argument in terms of there not being a window in the roof of the pods. Yes, it perhaps is something that would have been nice to have installed to make the most of the Stargazing theme, however at the same time, from a practical viewpoint, I'm not sure if it would have worked. Having a window in the roof of the pod would have meant needing some kind of blind to ensure that the daylight didn't stream in and wake you up early (especially in the summer months). Whilst in theory a blind is a fairly simple thing to install, it wouldn't take much for the blind to be broken and in turn lead to complaints. Any skywards facing window would also become very dirty, very quickly making it difficult to see out of if it's not cleaned regularly.

It is perhaps a shame that the pods aren't arranged in clusters as one of the earlier plans showed. This could have at least allowed for each cluster to have its own telescopes for people to look at the stars. As it stands, having what appears to be just 3 or 4 telescopes in the central green seems rather inadequate for 102 rooms (potentially 408 people if all the pods are occupied to full capacity).
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Robert.W
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:44 pm

I don't see why Merlin thought they wouldn't get away with having tents at Alton Towers. Europa Park have tents, so what? It's not the type of accommodation that matters at the end of the day, it's the standard that it is completed to that really matters. Does it have all the necessary facilities? Does it have a cohesive well executed theme? Merlin can't get any of these things right, no matter the accommodation type, because they don't want to spend the money these things deserve. So, basically Merlin are just going with the cheapest thing they can get away with. 

Europa Park on the other hand...

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jackf1tz
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:56 pm

Robert.W wrote:
Does it have a cohesive well executed theme? Merlin can't get any of these things right, no matter the accommodation type, because they don't want to spend the money these things deserve.


But the thing is, they can, and do get all these things right all the time! The Enchanted Village is great, the Chessington Hotels are great, the CBeebies land hotel is fantastic for it's target audience, and the hotels at LEGOLAND, Gardaland and Heide Park look great and most importantly the all offer a high quality immersive experience.

The accommodation at Warwick Castle is an excellent example of how to do what Merlin are trying to do with Alton right. They have the glamping, which offers a high quality experience on a budget, the Knights Village, which is very similar to the Enchanted Village, and the Tower Suites at a premium cost for a premium product.

In short, they can and do offer a good experience but on this occasion they have got it completely and utterly wrong. 102 sheds plonked in a field is not what we have come to expect from Merlin, who have the cheek to call themselves the world leaders in themed accommodation while coming out with this rubbish.
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Dom
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:40 pm

You know what, well done Merlin. They have certainly got us enthusiasts, talking about them be it positive or negative. While I'm not a huge fan from a star gazing point of view, these pods will open up the place to those on a restricted budget which means everyone can now hopefully enjoy a stay at the resort. It will be interesting to see if they theme the toilet blocks in any way.
 
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:45 pm

As reported on our Instagram page; At Alton Towers, a telescope has been installed by the Stargazing Pods preview on the front lawns which is catching the attention of passers by.

Will you stay in them next year?

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Swarm Chris
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:37 pm

That's, disappointing.

A quick look on Amazon (searched telescope with handle) and it looks suspiciously like a Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope, which retails for about £80. It has the manufacturer description:


A favourite first telescope for beginners, the AstroMaster 70AZ refractor offers sharp, detailed views of Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons, and more. It’s the easiest way to discover the night sky.


It could be the more expensive version, at £172. Either way, a bit disappointing that this is what they came up with. I'm not sure how long it will last before finger prints are all over the lens, or it has been rained on too many times. Doesn't do anything to endear me to the project, sadly.
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Morgan
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:19 pm

Will I be staying? No thanks. Firstly, the rooms look far too small. Imagine how hot and stuffy they're going to get, and how much worse they'll be if we have another summer like the one just gone.
Then there's the bathroom issue- having en suite rooms is very standard nowadays and a great convienience. There's no rush to shower in the morning, and if you need a bit of time to unwind you can run yourself a bath.
Another issue I've seen raised is how this is going to affect the pricing structure of the other hotels. This will, without a doubt, be the budget option- but so was Splash, so I can imagine the prices of that and the other hotels will go up to make them look more "premium" (despite the lack of sockets in ATH).
I understand that this is all standard stuff to campers, but I can't see why they couldn't just open a camp site instead. It'd be far cheaper to construct, which is money they could be spending on improving the existing accomodation (or even buying some flat rides).
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lewis97
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Re: ‘Stargazing Pods’ Accommodation Discussion

Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:20 pm

A construction update from the weekend was posted on TowersTimes News earlier this evening, showing both work on-site and the demonstration pods in the theme park (including their interiors from both the front and back). The full galleries are also available on the TowersTimes website.

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