UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
User avatar
Scott
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 315
Joined: May 2009
Location: Crewe
Contact:

Re: Merlin's next park?

Tue May 08, 2012 5:13 pm

Sam wrote:
The Corkscrew may have been a classic attraction to Alton Towers, but it's not historically significant in any way. There are dozens of them all over the world, it is a clone. Same with Black Hole. Many are in a much better condition than Alton's was. The Texas Tornado and the Cyclone were both unique attractions, even if there were similar rides, it's impossible to completely clone a woodie.


Double standards, Corkscrew was just as much iconic to Alton Towers as Cyclone was to Southport, both were removed for different reasons but probably the right reasons in the end.

I get the feeling, if Corkscrew had been at PB and they'd of removed it for a new ride, it would not be acceptable.  :roll:

Sam wrote:
Just because that's what they do at all their other parks, it doesn't mean they'd do it at the Pleasure Beach. All their other parks are well-known for being pay-one-price, whereas the Pleasure Beach has a history of admission into the park for free (though Mandy and co jacked it up to a fiver). I'm sure Merlin would maintain that if they bought the park, there'd be no reason not to.


Oh come on it's Merlin, they aren't going to keep it the same, they are going to hike the prices up and that'd be enough on its own to kill off the Pleasure Beach.

As for it being 'jacked up' to a fiver, I'd hardly say that was badly priced, I have no idea why people complain about it so much, without that entry charge Nickelodeon Land would not exist and that wouldn't be such a good thing.

Sam wrote:
I'd hardly call a crappy SLC putting "plenty of money into it", when PBB were adding rides like the PMBO. If they'd invested in it properly, it could have been profitable.


As ever from someone trying to get at the Thompsons, the assumption that putting money into an attraction is by spending millions on rides and nothing else. GT didn't just arrange for Traumtizer to be built at Southport, other rides were refurbished, money was spent all over Pleasure Land and nothing was coming back in.

It was a lost cause which like I've said previously, should of shut when Frontierland did and Traumatizer should of gone straight to Pleasure Beach without stopping off at Southport for a few years first.
Number ONE for Pleasure Beach Blackpool;
[url=http://www.pleasurebeachexperience.com\" onclick=\"window.open(this.href);return false;]http://www.pleasurebeachexperience.com[/url]
Image
 
Ritadz
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1990
Joined: January 2010

Re: Merlin's next park?

Tue May 08, 2012 6:50 pm

Sam wrote:
Ritadz wrote:
On the topic of removing classic attractions, remind me what Merlin did to Corkscrew?


The Corkscrew may have been a classic attraction to Alton Towers, but it's not historically significant in any way.


UK's First coaster with two inversions.

Much more historically significant than a mediocre woodie in my opinion.

And paying £5 to enjoy the park atmosphere and shows is considerably better than being forced to pay £42 regardless of what you intend to ride. (EDIT) Furthermore, the £5 charge has prevented, well lets just say idiotic tools, from entering the park with the sole intention of causing damage to the park and harming the family friendly atmosphere. The park seemed like a much nicer and less crowded place then I remember on Sunday, and I enjoyed it more than my last visit, which was back when anyone could just turn up and get into the park for free.

:)
Last edited by Ritadz on Wed May 09, 2012 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
thefatone
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 879
Joined: January 2011
Location: Hidden behind an ancient bookcase..

Re: Merlin's next park?

Wed May 09, 2012 8:09 am

Scott wrote:
Double standards, Corkscrew was just as much iconic to Alton Towers as Cyclone was to Southport, both were removed for different reasons but probably the right reasons in the end.

Very different. Corkscrew was replaced with another multi-million pound attraction designed to keep people coming in, it was pure investment. Cyclone was just pure destruction for pretty much no reason whatsoever.

Though I far prefer the fiver entry to pleasure beach - it does keep the morons away.
 
Bunbury
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 74
Joined: February 2012

Re: Merlin's next park?

Wed May 09, 2012 9:24 am

Unfortunately, the Thompsons have always been like this. Even in the 90s, PBB dined off PMBO for longer than most parks would. PMBO was also built on the cheap, too. The family wanted a superstar, world-beater attraction but didn't truly have the resources. Ever wondered why the profile of the drops on the ride are so shallow beyond the first?
 
User avatar
Slappy McGuire
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 342
Joined: April 2009

Re: Merlin's next park?

Wed May 09, 2012 9:45 pm

I visited PBB about four years ago, and frankly, it was an utter dump.  We visited again last year on the off chance, and the improvements in the ensuing years have been excellent, and I don't think Merlin could, or would have made any better a fist of it. 

There is an elephant in the room however, the reason why both the Merlin Parks are looking far worse for wear at the moment than they have for years, and the reason why no matter how attractive and sensible an acquisition of either Drayton Manor or Lightwater Valley would be to Merlin - DEBT.

Merlin are up to their eyeballs in debt, in a way kinda reminiscent of the situation at Manchester United, to the extent that if the parks were run in the way that they could and should be, then Merlin as a company would post massive losses year on year, as they struggled to pay off their burden of Debt.  An acquisition of Lightwater Valley as example would cost millions - in terms of purchase, and in terms of investing in the park.  It would almost certainly pay off in the long run, but in the short run it would be a risk that wouldn't justify the outlay.

For the next 4-5 years, Merlin will invest overseas, or on local versions of its Sealife, Dungeon and Discovery Centre IP's for maximum return, for minimum investment.  TBH, in that time, it wouldn't surprise me to see them actually sell off one of their parks, not buy another.
 
User avatar
BigAl
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2265
Joined: June 2010
Location: South East Cheshire
Contact:

Re: Merlin's next park?

Wed May 09, 2012 9:56 pm

A few more Legoland Discovery Centre's across the UK might be okay but perhaps it's best if they just stop adding to their assets for the time being. They've managed to slash the amount of debt by quite a bit since they took control of things, so they should just maintain what they've got until they're good.

And if they do sell any attractions then I hope it's not any of the parks or attractions in the UK. Some have said that they may sell Chessington. I really hope that isn't the case because Merlin are more or less a life support for them. :(
 
User avatar
Charlee
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 147
Joined: December 2011
Location: Sandhurst

Re: Merlin's next park?

Fri May 11, 2012 3:44 pm

I think if Merlin went for a new park, Walygator in France is the way to go. That place needs sorting out! and more overseas attractions is never a bad thing!
I used to think I knew a lot about coasters, but then I joined this forum.
 
User avatar
BigAl
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2265
Joined: June 2010
Location: South East Cheshire
Contact:

Re: Merlin's next park?

Fri May 11, 2012 4:10 pm

Charlee wrote:
I think if Merlin went for a new park, Walygator in France is the way to go. That place needs sorting out! and more overseas attractions is never a bad thing!

Quite the opposite, in my opinion. Purchasing a new park over seas means further increasing prices over here for us but for the same amount of attractions. Purchasing more parks also means less money is put into the existing attractions (which isn't as much as it used to be either). And a park such as Walygator is beyond awful. Such a park would require millions and millions to fix it up to even a remotely adequate standard which I don't think Merlin would want to bother doing as it wouldn't look good in their portfolio for future investors.
 
User avatar
Charlee
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 147
Joined: December 2011
Location: Sandhurst

Re: Merlin's next park?

Fri May 11, 2012 4:14 pm

Yeah i suppose your right, they really should focus on fixing up all their other parks first.
I used to think I knew a lot about coasters, but then I joined this forum.
 
CoasterCrazyChris
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2885
Joined: July 2008
Location: Bristol

Re: Merlin's next park?

Fri May 11, 2012 4:42 pm

BigAl wrote:
Such a park would require millions and millions to fix it up to even a remotely adequate standard which I don't think Merlin would want to bother doing as it wouldn't look good in their portfolio for future investors.


I'm afraid that Alton Towers is also at such a point that it would require millions to fix up.
 
User avatar
BigAl
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 2265
Joined: June 2010
Location: South East Cheshire
Contact:

Re: Merlin's next park?

Fri May 11, 2012 4:54 pm

CoasterCrazyChris wrote:
BigAl wrote:
Such a park would require millions and millions to fix it up to even a remotely adequate standard which I don't think Merlin would want to bother doing as it wouldn't look good in their portfolio for future investors.


I'm afraid that Alton Towers is also at such a point that it would require millions to fix up.

So does that mean it would be a good idea for Merlin to then go ahead and get even more parks that are in the same state?


The only type of park I could really see Merlin taking over would be a smaller park that's well-presented and has a nice line-up of rides that are well-themed too.

Some parks that may not be a bad purchase if Merlin were desperate to expand their attraction line-up might be:

1. Fårup Sommerland
2. Plopsaland
3. Bobbejaanland
4. Belantis
5. Drievliet Family Park
6. Toverland
7. Freizeitpark Plohn
8. TusenFryd
9. Rainbow MagicLand


Apart from minor theming changes and the odd new ride, these might not be too bad if Merlin were desperate for a new park. I haven't included any British parks purely for the fact that there just wouldn't be enough competition in the UK if Merlin owned the lot.

I'd still rather they didn't purchase a new park though.

:)
Last edited by BigAl on Fri May 11, 2012 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Jammydodger
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 375
Joined: March 2011

Re: Merlin's next park?

Fri May 11, 2012 9:09 pm

You know there's such a thing as good debt and bad debt right?

Merlin are in a comfortable position to repay their lenders, and pocket money on top of that. Their lenders probably won't let them pay any more back each year because that would mean they end up with less interest and out of the pocket.

Debt is only a problem when they can't keep on top of the money they owe.

The idea of a company struggling with its debt going around and buying more assets just makes no sense...
 
thefatone
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 879
Joined: January 2011
Location: Hidden behind an ancient bookcase..

Re: Merlin's next park?

Fri May 11, 2012 11:13 pm

Little Chef, Clintons Cards and Peacocks are evidence of companies with overburdening debt.

Merlin has a seemingly sustainable plan of serving the debt - purchasing and expanding midway attractions. The ones which require very little outlay, small investments, but gain huge returns. These'll allow them to be more financially secure, even if the resort parks are having a turbulant year.
 
User avatar
Themeparksandy1981
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1589
Joined: October 2009
Location: Midlands
Contact:

Re: Merlin's next park?

Sat May 12, 2012 11:12 am

I think they need to sort out what they own already. Us fans have moaned about the lack of investment at Chessington and the lack of attractions or standard of rides added since they took over at Alton Towers.
 
User avatar
RollercoasterGEEK100
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 621
Joined: April 2012
Location: Bedfordshire, UK

Re: Merlin's next park?

Sun May 27, 2012 12:34 pm

They should make a park in bedforshire near luton because there is LOADS of space near the fields.
Image

Credit to NemesisRider
 
Ritadz
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 1990
Joined: January 2010

Re: Merlin's next park?

Sun May 27, 2012 12:37 pm

RollercoasterGEEK100 wrote:
They should make a park in bedforshire near luton because there is LOADS of space near the fields.


So pretty much down the road from 3 existing Merlin parks?
 
User avatar
RollercoasterGEEK100
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 621
Joined: April 2012
Location: Bedfordshire, UK

Re: Merlin's next park?

Sun May 27, 2012 12:41 pm

Mhm...
Image

Credit to NemesisRider
 
User avatar
RyanY
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 872
Joined: July 2011
Location: Lincolnshire

Re: Merlin's next park?

Sun May 27, 2012 12:44 pm

Merlin should not start off from scratch with a new park, nor should they buy any other parks, they should concentrate on bringing the park they currently own and bring them up to standard. We don't want parks like Alton Towers, Thorpe Park or Chessington being neglected more than they are already.
 
DDCStudio
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 3
Joined: June 2012

Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:27 pm

Sorry to reserect an old topic but to put all queries straight...

Merlin Studios is a mostly conceptual design team, this is the same as Disney Imagineering and Universal Creative.

Merlin Studios was created to run the development of the parks rides and theming from one central point and create an established branded style within Merlin Entertainment.

So say for SW7, Alton Towers will hand over a brief to Merlin Studios, outlining in writing everything they want. The studios will then interpret this brief and produce concept art work and designs (usually hand drawn sketches for the initial development) for a few selected scenes within the ride, facade, decor or general theming.

These initial conceptual ideas are then handed back to the Towers and Merlin HQ for signing off. Once everyone is happy with the new ride ideas and concepts. Merlin Studios will then take it into the second stage of development, detailing. Once details are created these will then be sent to get ready for tender, details along with sample tenders are sent out to various companies, including theme park design specialists, AV specialists, ride manufactures, interactive designers and etc. Each company receiving a specialist package within which they have there own brief outlined and instructions on the style and required dimensions. These companies then reply with the price and turnaround. Meanwhile the studios prepare planning permission documents by working together with external companies specialising in that area.
So that’s just the basics of the design,
as it progresses Merlin Studios over see the Project Management and other such things pretty much everything on Alton Towers behalf.

So onto costing…
Design firms take an industry standard of around 12-15% of the final cost price.
So,
Expedition Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom - $1,00,000,000
W.D.I would see $12,000,000
So that is about 10 years worth of work with say 15 Imagineers working on that project, so that is $80,000 each without taking running costs, so say split it 50% so now its $40,000 each or £25,637

Hex - £4,000,000
Merlin Studios would see £480,000
So that’s about 2.5 Years of work with about 4 Designers working on it, so £48,000 each a year, and that’s without running costs, so split them at 50% so your looking at £24,000 for the year for a designer working on hex.
Id say there working on 2 constant projects a work at Merlin Studios so between them about £48,00 a year.

Q-Line Fence Painting - £8,000
Studios Make £1,200 (at 15% as it’s a small project)
1week project, 1 person designing - £62,400 a year, 50% of for running costs £31,200 a year.
£6,600 for the painters, look how much fencing there is in Spinball, along with traveling, brushes, equipment, cleaning, labour.

Hope this has solved some peoples thoughts on why its so expensive, which when you look at it this way it is not.

Just thought I would add-
Sources:
Friends work for leading theme park/attraction design companies.
Other friends work in leading theme park inhouse design studios.
and I work within the theme park design industry.
Last edited by DDCStudio on Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
JooshBall
TT Member
TT Member
Posts: 5
Joined: June 2012
Location: Tamworth, Staffordshire

Re: Merlin's £200 million acquisition fund

Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:55 pm

A5H wrote:
Merlin are buying Drayton Manor... :P
I wish!


Unfortunately, I don't believe this will be happening! Drayton Manor have received offers from Merlin Entertainements and have continuously declined. Drayton Manor prides itself on not only being a family "fun for all" theme park, but a family run theme park. The Bryan's are very proud - as they should be - of their work at Drayton Manor; it will take a very tough client to even get close to purchasing the park. Sorry folks!
It's just me, Josh.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests