I disagree. There is no purpose in pushing Thorpe down the "family park" route, because there is Alton and Chessington for that...its not good fkr making money if all of Merlins parks are similar.
Btw Dom, did you work at Camelot near Preston for a bit? Your face seems quite familiar
No i didn't work at Camelot. I'm a southerner.
As for the family market. Thorpe Park ARE heading down that market. This has been confirmed by senior staff at the park during Southparks Southern Screamer Event. But it is more the older/taller end of the family market.
Thorpe has not done as well as they thought they would this year. There has been a drop in season and annual pass sales and days which should have been packed were not. Angry birds worked but i don't think it worked anywhere near as much as they hoped. A intense family coaster is what i think they will go for next. A large ride but no inversions and instead a combination of high G turns and airtime hills. UK parks do have the budget of american parks its just restrictions and a lack in confidence limits the rides. There is nothing stopping a UK park from having a ride like gatekeeper except from planning permission. If local councils want to limit the development of their main employers and tax revenue generators then they can but fundamentally it is a stupid idea and limits growth in the UK because people are too dumb to see what they are doing.
With the right amount of effort a coaster will always bring in new people (the swarm didn't because of terrible advertising) it is local councils and the operators which stop themselves from being as big as american parks.
We don't know for certain how Thorpe Park have performed this year. Angry Birds could have helped increase gate figures because it was attracting to more the family market who tend to avoid Thorpe because they assumed it was just for teens and thrill seekers. The local councils, although annoying, do put in the restrictions to benefit residents and help with health and safety and all the other stuff like that. So in some ways it is good that Thorpe are restricted because it means they have to actually use their imaginations and come up with something amazing in the restrictions. I personally think the restirctions placed on parks is a good thing because it does mean we get surprised with things.