UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:18 am

Today's Trading & Strategy Update, has seen a number of key announcements from Merlin.

Reallocation of capital
Firstly, is a reallocation of capital from new investments in both Midway Attractions and the Resort Theme Parks to a 'Productivity Agenda' and additional accommodation at the resorts (interestingly it was suggested that they'd eventually like 1000 rooms at each resort). During the presentation, Nick Varney seemed to place more of an emphasis on the midway capex being reduced rather than the theme parks, and also highlighted that this represents yearly capital investment being reduced from £150m to around £125m. The 'Productivity Agenda' includes things like back office efficiencies and increased automation, like the addition of the self-service ticket machines which have been trialled at the London Eye.

Going forward, whilst our long-standing Six Strategic Growth Drivers remain unchanged, we will be reallocating planned capital investments from the Existing Estate into an accelerated accommodation roll out and a Productivity Agenda. Specifically:
  • Intention to reduce Existing Estate capex by approximately £100 million over the period 2018-21, predominantly from the Midway Attractions and Resort Theme Parks Operating Groups, with investment in Health and Safety and Repairs and Maintenance unaffected.
  • Approximately £30 million investment in a Productivity Agenda, the initial benefits of which are expected from late 2019 onwards.
  • Acceleration in accommodation roll out, with 2,000 rooms expected over the 2018-21 period (2,000 over 2016-20 previously).


New Intellectual Property partnerships
Merlin continue to pursue IP-based experiences, with the announcement of future Bear Grylls and Peppa Pig attractions - I have posted more details about 'The Bear Grylls Experience' midway brand in the Birmingham attraction's topic. As for Peppa Pig, it is highlighted that Merlin's deal covers all countries apart from the UK, so the two theme park areas which have been announced for 2018 will presumably be in Gardaland and Heide Park. It appears the brand will also be applied to midway attractions, with the first "standalone attraction" opening in 2019 - during the presentation, Nick Varney stated that these would initially be 'interactive, soft-play experiences' but then also said that there was the potential for 'mid-sized theme parks' (like LEGOLAND) further down the line.


Merlin today announces it has entered into two global exclusive IP partnerships to develop location based entertainment:
  • Bear Grylls - Partnering with the world-famous survival expert, international TV host and bestselling author, ‘The Bear Grylls Adventure’ will be targeted at the adventure-based experiences market, with the first attraction to open in Birmingham, UK, in 2018.
  • Peppa Pig – A multi-territory agreement with Entertainment One (eOne) to open Peppa Pig themed attractions and accommodation. Peppa Pig is one of the world’s leading pre-school brand properties with over 1,000 licensees across 60 countries. The deal which excludes the UK gives Merlin exclusivity in all territories other than China, where the licence is granted on a non-exclusive basis.

LEGOLAND developments
It was also announced that a 'The LEGO Movie Land' will be added to all LEGOLAND parks from 2019, with the accompanying visual perhaps giving some hint as to what attractions may be included:

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Share price
Today's update has seen Merlin's share price significantly fall (initially down 20%) to pretty much the same level as this time in 2015 following the impact of The Smiler incident, completely wiping out the growth that the last two years has seen...

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Bert
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:26 pm

Huh, That's odd, I wonder what caused Merlin's stock to fall, I mean The themes parks have been doing well, But I guess it's the midways that have a fallen atttendence this time. Could it be because of the increase of terrorist attacks?
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:42 pm

Bert2theSpark wrote:
Huh, That's odd, I wonder what caused Merlin's stock to fall, I mean The themes parks have been doing well, But I guess it's the midways that have a fallen atttendence this time. Could it be because of the increase of terrorist attacks?

They reported only 0.3% like for like growth in revenue, with, like for like, midway seeing a 1.0% decline and Resort Theme Parks a 2.1% decline which was then balanced out by 3.4% growth in LEGOLAND parks. Although Merlin have argued that the declines in two of their operating groups are down to structural and market-wide issues, rather than problems with their operation of them, there may be some scepticism over this and the prospect of less revenue, regardless of reasoning, is hard to see as a positive. There do also appear to be some investor concerns about the reallocation of capital away from Existing Estate, in relation to how that could affect attendance in the long term.

The share price has somewhat risen over the course of the day, but it is still a fair way below the level it closed at yesterday.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:54 pm

...Hello!...

So who wants to take bets on how long before the company collapses?

They are still building hotels by the way!
 
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:31 pm

Interesting how Merlin always blame external factors for poor performance. Never themselves...
 
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:05 am

Having read the report and watched the presentation, I am generally concerned about the future of the parks.

I'll be quite honest - I don't care much for Merlin's Midway attractions. For me, they are a 'do once and don't bother again' type experience. Generally they don't change from year to year (well maybe a new waxwork here and there), and don't appeal to thrillseekers anyway.

The theme parks don't seem to be a priority of their business objective anymore. Due to the investor run business model they have, it seems like anything which runs the risk of not bringing in a decent return is not considered, and it baffles me how they can propose adding more accomodation when they cannot fill the existing products. A prime example is opening a new hotel at ATR, and another one closes for the majority of the season. I understand they are still recovering from the Smiler incident drop in attendence, however it is the defeatest attitude which I find frustrating.

I don't recall the weather being that bad this year, and have the terror attacks really knocked public confidence that much? You don't see football stadiums half empty do you. Brighton Pride had its biggest year ever. Adele sold out every single show. It's like Estate Agents blaming Brexit for not being able to sell houses. If anything, Brexit should have helped the company as more people are staying in the UK for holidays due to the weaker pound.

If they plan to cut capex budgets even further, then it may be a miserable few years. The parks all have had respectable rides closed, are staffed to absolute minimum, and are in dire need of an overhaul in places. Why does Thorpe's entrance look like a tarmac dump? Why does Alton have half the ride offering it did ten years ago? Why is Colossos at Heide Park shut?

Until Merlin start investing in their offering, customer experience and operations, they are not going to see a rise in attendence. They can blame the weather all they want.. but their attitude does not seem to wash with consumers who are just going elsewhere.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:29 am

Schneck wrote:
Interesting how Merlin always blame external factors for poor performance. Never themselves...

Yes, but technically there are external factors like the rise in terror attacks, not just in the UK, but around Europe, which has undoubtedly had an effect on many different attractions, many of them being Merlin ones, and when so many of one company's attractions suffer a small impact, the overall blow looks even worse. 

Considering everything, Merlin I think have coped well, but I do agree with many of the things Chris said in his post, and that Merlin also have made mistakes, so there are really a mix of internal and external factors that have gotten Merlin to this position and I do hope they will now discuss what they can change within the company, even if external factors cannot be changed.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:43 am

Honestly Merlin are acting a bit pathetic about this at the moment. I mean I get that terror attacks have stopped people traveling to London, but that's one of many, many pies that Merlin have their fingers in, and if they want people to start traveling to their parks, they need to make sure that instead of 1 new attraction, first of all you need to clean the park up, and I'm sorry, but while I love Alton Towers, it can be a bit of a dump on some days. In my opinion, that's a massive factor that caused Paultons Park to overtake Towers as the UK's favourite theme park a couple of years back. I mean, they're the world's 2nd biggest leisure operator in the world, surely they can buy a couple of bins to put in the smiler queue line, and maybe a few more litter pickers.

The sad thing is, Merlin don't seem to realise that until they sort out the most basic things they're never going to get the results they want to, but guests don't wait around for people to get their act together, they're going to spend their money somewhere else.
 
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:17 pm

I'm very disappointed that they're choosing to build MORE accommodation when there's barely enough at Towers to keep me there for a day as it is. Aside from the Big 6 and Hex, there's not much else to keep a thrillseeker interested more than a few hours. It's less of an issue at Thorpe but it's slowly becoming one with the amount of rides that are starting to close. It's a shame to see these parks being run like this, if I paid the full admission price I'd be even more annoyed.
 
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:53 pm

It looks like Mandyland will really be leading the way in terms of UK theme parks before too long.

I prefer it to the Merlin parks already before yet more cuts come to them.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:00 pm

MakoMania wrote:
It looks like Mandyland will really be leading the way in terms of UK theme parks before too long.

I prefer it to the Merlin parks already before yet more cuts come to them.


I wouldn’t say a park who have failed to install a brand new coaster for the past 24 years is really anywhere close to ‘leading the way’ in the UK industry.

I think having a preference is fine but it’s undeniable that in reality, as much as some may not like it, Merlin parks are really in another league financially and as theme parks.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:14 pm

Blackpool is in my opinion more of an "amusement park" than a "theme park". It's got loads of heritage rides, and Merlin parks don't. My guess is that if they continue to add more amazing additions, like I'm sure icon will be, Merlin will actually have done good UK competition, but sadly I can't see that happening for about 10-15 years
 
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:23 pm

Owen wrote:
I wouldn’t say a park who have failed to install a brand new coaster for the past 24 years is really anywhere close to ‘leading the way’ in the UK industry.

I think having a preference is fine but it’s undeniable that in reality, as much as some may not like it, Merlin parks are really in another league financially and as theme parks.

But then is that not just a sign of how bad things are getting? With some Merlin parks (in the eyes of many) getting slowly but constantly worse, and Blackpool getting slowly but constantly better, is it so unreasonable to suggest that Blackpool will soon become genuine competition for Merlin (if perhaps not an industry leader)?

On paper, and in terms of potential, Merlin parks are certainly in a different league, but management and so on have a big impact, and while Merlin are suffering the results of putting a marketing man in charge of all the fun, Blackpool is quickly becoming an enthusiast favourite, and there's no reason why it couldn't eventually become a more significant force in the UK industry if the two companies continue with how they're going. Merlin may have the reputation and size, but with the Resort Theme Parks being undeniably one of Merlin's most neglected groups recently and in future plans, the table may be set for a smaller park, putting all their resources and care into their park, to become much more dominant within the industry.

Suggesting that Merlin are untouchable given the current state of events is in itself blinded by preferences in my opinion.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:52 pm

Owen wrote:
MakoMania wrote:
It looks like Mandyland will really be leading the way in terms of UK theme parks before too long.

I prefer it to the Merlin parks already before yet more cuts come to them.


I wouldn’t say a park who have failed to install a brand new coaster for the past 24 years is really anywhere close to ‘leading the way’ in the UK industry.

I think having a preference is fine but it’s undeniable that in reality, as much as some may not like it, Merlin parks are really in another league financially and as theme parks.


You're right, Merlin parks are in another league financially, which makes the way they are operated even more embarassing. It's more than an embarrasment really, it's pretty much a disgrace.

I do though have some good things to say about Merlin, they certainly do theming better than BPB on most projects, they have a talanted marketing team and SW8 looks like it will be a fantastic addition (not as good as Icon mind :P)

But these positives are more than outweighed by the long list of negatives for Merlin, I will try to keep this UK based.

Their parks (particularly Alton & Thorpe) seem to reduce their offering every single year, whether it be the ride lineup (NST, Charlie, Ice Age, Wobble World, Ripsaw, Submission, Logger's Leap, Slammer), the opening times (insultingly disgraceful this year, I mean, 10am-4pm with 90 minute queues, come on!) or Merlin's insatiable hunger for investment in more overpriced accomodation whilst not providing enough rides to last more than a few hours on a quiet day.

BPB on the other hand (whilst they have been through choppy waters) is much better value for money and they are focused on improving their operations and expanding their ride lineup with no SBNO attractions. They also have an passion for guest experience that the high up staff at Merlin are clearly lacking, it's worth adding an extra hour onto a busy day even if it means losing a few quid.

I would also argue that if we take BPB vs Alton Towers capital projects over the past few years, BPB comes out on top.
AT:
Sub-Terra: flopped and closed at 3 years old
Ice Age: closed after a few years
The Smiler: decent ride, has aged badly & ride area is horrible (NEEDS TLC BADLY)
CBeebies Land: Great investment
Galactica: terrible as of 2017, VR is now far worse than video game quality
SW8: looks fantastic, can't wait

BPB:
Nick Land: fantastic, superior to CBeebies Land IMO, but it does aim at an ever so slightly older market
W&G: great family dark ride, still very popular
Sky Force: good ride, much needed flat ride investment, could've been a bit better
Icon: looks incredible, can't wait


BPB is by no means perfect, Merlin's fastrack is far superior to BPB's Speedy Pass for example, but over recent years they have shown a continued desire to improve the guest experience, whilst the opposite is true at Alton Towers and Thorpe Park in particular. That's why BPB is by far and away the UK's leading park in my opinion, regardless of how rich they are.


Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, Alton has the potential to be a world class park, I just wish Merlin would invest properly instead of gimmickly, hopefully SW8 is the start.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:00 pm

Merlin have now purchased the rights to Peppa Pig attractions as of the 17th October

Source www.merlinentertainments.biz it's in the news section....... interesting
 
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:00 pm

MakoMania wrote:
Owen wrote:
MakoMania wrote:
It looks like Mandyland will really be leading the way in terms of UK theme parks before too long.

I prefer it to the Merlin parks already before yet more cuts come to them.


I wouldn’t say a park who have failed to install a brand new coaster for the past 24 years is really anywhere close to ‘leading the way’ in the UK industry.

I think having a preference is fine but it’s undeniable that in reality, as much as some may not like it, Merlin parks are really in another league financially and as theme parks.


You're right, Merlin parks are in another league financially, which makes the way they are operated even more embarassing. It's more than an embarrasment really, it's pretty much a disgrace.

I do though have some good things to say about Merlin, they certainly do theming better than BPB on most projects, they have a talanted marketing team and SW8 looks like it will be a fantastic addition (not as good as Icon mind :P)

But these positives are more than outweighed by the long list of negatives for Merlin, I will try to keep this UK based.

Their parks (particularly Alton & Thorpe) seem to reduce their offering every single year, whether it be the ride lineup (NST, Charlie, Ice Age, Wobble World, Ripsaw, Submission, Logger's Leap, Slammer), the opening times (insultingly disgraceful this year, I mean, 10am-4pm with 90 minute queues, come on!) or Merlin's insatiable hunger for investment in more overpriced accomodation whilst not providing enough rides to last more than a few hours on a quiet day.

BPB on the other hand (whilst they have been through choppy waters) is much better value for money and they are focused on improving their operations and expanding their ride lineup with no SBNO attractions. They also have an passion for guest experience that the high up staff at Merlin are clearly lacking, it's worth adding an extra hour onto a busy day even if it means losing a few quid.

I would also argue that if we take BPB vs Alton Towers capital projects over the past few years, BPB comes out on top.
AT:
Sub-Terra: flopped and closed at 3 years old
Ice Age: closed after a few years
The Smiler: decent ride, has aged badly & ride area is horrible (NEEDS TLC BADLY)
CBeebies Land: Great investment
Galactica: terrible as of 2017, VR is now far worse than video game quality
SW8: looks fantastic, can't wait

BPB:
Nick Land: fantastic, superior to CBeebies Land IMO, but it does aim at an ever so slightly older market
W&G: great family dark ride, still very popular
Sky Force: good ride, much needed flat ride investment, could've been a bit better
Icon: looks incredible, can't wait


BPB is by no means perfect, Merlin's fastrack is far superior to BPB's Speedy Pass for example, but over recent years they have shown a continued desire to improve the guest experience, whilst the opposite is true at Alton Towers and Thorpe Park in particular. That's why BPB is by far and away the UK's leading park in my opinion, regardless of how rich they are.


Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, Alton has the potential to be a world class park, I just wish Merlin would invest properly instead of gimmickly, hopefully SW8 is the start.


The way your initial point came across was that it wasn’t based on opinion, it was made as a statement which simply isn’t true at this point and likely never will be. I’m not going to argue about opinions because I’m fairly familiar with your views on Merlin parks, however as I say - Blackpool is likely never going to be on par with Merlin parks, but that’s to be expected because it’s not owned by a multi-million pound company.

Also, I don’t see how it’s fine for Blackpool to ‘go through choppy waters’ but it’s not ok for Merlin parks after they go through a rough patch too?


DavidRock wrote:
Merlin have now purchased the rights to Peppa Pig attractions as of the 17th October

Source http://www.merlinentertainments.biz it's in the news section....... interesting


That is quite interesting... I’m sure we will see something come of this in the next few years...
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:08 pm

Owen wrote:
MakoMania wrote:
Owen wrote:

I wouldn’t say a park who have failed to install a brand new coaster for the past 24 years is really anywhere close to ‘leading the way’ in the UK industry.

I think having a preference is fine but it’s undeniable that in reality, as much as some may not like it, Merlin parks are really in another league financially and as theme parks.


You're right, Merlin parks are in another league financially, which makes the way they are operated even more embarassing. It's more than an embarrasment really, it's pretty much a disgrace.

I do though have some good things to say about Merlin, they certainly do theming better than BPB on most projects, they have a talanted marketing team and SW8 looks like it will be a fantastic addition (not as good as Icon mind :P)

But these positives are more than outweighed by the long list of negatives for Merlin, I will try to keep this UK based.

Their parks (particularly Alton & Thorpe) seem to reduce their offering every single year, whether it be the ride lineup (NST, Charlie, Ice Age, Wobble World, Ripsaw, Submission, Logger's Leap, Slammer), the opening times (insultingly disgraceful this year, I mean, 10am-4pm with 90 minute queues, come on!) or Merlin's insatiable hunger for investment in more overpriced accomodation whilst not providing enough rides to last more than a few hours on a quiet day.

BPB on the other hand (whilst they have been through choppy waters) is much better value for money and they are focused on improving their operations and expanding their ride lineup with no SBNO attractions. They also have an passion for guest experience that the high up staff at Merlin are clearly lacking, it's worth adding an extra hour onto a busy day even if it means losing a few quid.

I would also argue that if we take BPB vs Alton Towers capital projects over the past few years, BPB comes out on top.
AT:
Sub-Terra: flopped and closed at 3 years old
Ice Age: closed after a few years
The Smiler: decent ride, has aged badly & ride area is horrible (NEEDS TLC BADLY)
CBeebies Land: Great investment
Galactica: terrible as of 2017, VR is now far worse than video game quality
SW8: looks fantastic, can't wait

BPB:
Nick Land: fantastic, superior to CBeebies Land IMO, but it does aim at an ever so slightly older market
W&G: great family dark ride, still very popular
Sky Force: good ride, much needed flat ride investment, could've been a bit better
Icon: looks incredible, can't wait


BPB is by no means perfect, Merlin's fastrack is far superior to BPB's Speedy Pass for example, but over recent years they have shown a continued desire to improve the guest experience, whilst the opposite is true at Alton Towers and Thorpe Park in particular. That's why BPB is by far and away the UK's leading park in my opinion, regardless of how rich they are.


Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, Alton has the potential to be a world class park, I just wish Merlin would invest properly instead of gimmickly, hopefully SW8 is the start.


The way your initial point came across was that it wasn’t based on opinion, it was made as a statement which simply isn’t true at this point and likely never will be. I’m not going to argue about opinions because I’m fairly familiar with your views on Merlin parks, however as I say - Blackpool is likely never going to be on par with Merlin parks, but that’s to be expected because it’s not owned by a multi-million pound company.

Also, I don’t see how it’s fine for Blackpool to ‘go through choppy waters’ but it’s not ok for Merlin parks after they go through a rough patch too?


DavidRock wrote:
Merlin have now purchased the rights to Peppa Pig attractions as of the 17th October

Source http://www.merlinentertainments.biz it's in the news section....... interesting


That is quite interesting... I’m sure we will see something come of this in the next few years...


I meant choppy waters in terms of finances, not ride closures, should've worded that better, sorry.

We'll have to agree to disagree about my statement that "simply isn't true". There will never be a best park in the UK, just as there will never be a best park in Florida because you will never get everyone to agree, which is natural as people have different likes and dislikes.

I think BPB trounces AT, you think of it the other way round, the world would be boring if everyone thought the same thing :)

I know I have built a bit of a Merlin bashing reputation, but I'm liking what I'm seeing with SW8, I may have to give them some praise when March comes round.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:15 pm

MakoMania wrote:
Owen wrote:
MakoMania wrote:

You're right, Merlin parks are in another league financially, which makes the way they are operated even more embarassing. It's more than an embarrasment really, it's pretty much a disgrace.

I do though have some good things to say about Merlin, they certainly do theming better than BPB on most projects, they have a talanted marketing team and SW8 looks like it will be a fantastic addition (not as good as Icon mind :P)

But these positives are more than outweighed by the long list of negatives for Merlin, I will try to keep this UK based.

Their parks (particularly Alton & Thorpe) seem to reduce their offering every single year, whether it be the ride lineup (NST, Charlie, Ice Age, Wobble World, Ripsaw, Submission, Logger's Leap, Slammer), the opening times (insultingly disgraceful this year, I mean, 10am-4pm with 90 minute queues, come on!) or Merlin's insatiable hunger for investment in more overpriced accomodation whilst not providing enough rides to last more than a few hours on a quiet day.

BPB on the other hand (whilst they have been through choppy waters) is much better value for money and they are focused on improving their operations and expanding their ride lineup with no SBNO attractions. They also have an passion for guest experience that the high up staff at Merlin are clearly lacking, it's worth adding an extra hour onto a busy day even if it means losing a few quid.

I would also argue that if we take BPB vs Alton Towers capital projects over the past few years, BPB comes out on top.
AT:
Sub-Terra: flopped and closed at 3 years old
Ice Age: closed after a few years
The Smiler: decent ride, has aged badly & ride area is horrible (NEEDS TLC BADLY)
CBeebies Land: Great investment
Galactica: terrible as of 2017, VR is now far worse than video game quality
SW8: looks fantastic, can't wait

BPB:
Nick Land: fantastic, superior to CBeebies Land IMO, but it does aim at an ever so slightly older market
W&G: great family dark ride, still very popular
Sky Force: good ride, much needed flat ride investment, could've been a bit better
Icon: looks incredible, can't wait


BPB is by no means perfect, Merlin's fastrack is far superior to BPB's Speedy Pass for example, but over recent years they have shown a continued desire to improve the guest experience, whilst the opposite is true at Alton Towers and Thorpe Park in particular. That's why BPB is by far and away the UK's leading park in my opinion, regardless of how rich they are.


Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, Alton has the potential to be a world class park, I just wish Merlin would invest properly instead of gimmickly, hopefully SW8 is the start.


The way your initial point came across was that it wasn’t based on opinion, it was made as a statement which simply isn’t true at this point and likely never will be. I’m not going to argue about opinions because I’m fairly familiar with your views on Merlin parks, however as I say - Blackpool is likely never going to be on par with Merlin parks, but that’s to be expected because it’s not owned by a multi-million pound company.

Also, I don’t see how it’s fine for Blackpool to ‘go through choppy waters’ but it’s not ok for Merlin parks after they go through a rough patch too?


DavidRock wrote:
Merlin have now purchased the rights to Peppa Pig attractions as of the 17th October

Source http://www.merlinentertainments.biz it's in the news section....... interesting


That is quite interesting... I’m sure we will see something come of this in the next few years...


I meant choppy waters in terms of finances, not ride closures, should've worded that better, sorry.

We'll have to agree to disagree about my statement that "simply isn't true". There will never be a best park in the UK, just as there will never be a best park in Florida because you will never get everyone to agree, which is natural as people have different likes and dislikes.

I think BPB trounces AT, you think of it the other way round, the world would be boring if everyone thought the same thing :)

I know I have built a bit of a Merlin bashing reputation, but I'm liking what I'm seeing with SW8, I may have to give them some praise when March comes round.


That’s not what I’m saying though. I never said I liked Alton over Blackpool or the other way around, I am saying it terms of finance, popularity and ride quality Merlin parks are (quite clearly) leading the UK industry - not which is the best park or not in my opinion.
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:53 am

In my books leading park equates to best park.

In terms of ride quality, the coasters at BPB are far more exciting than the ones at Alton, of course there are exceptions, Nemesis is far superior to PMBO for example.

I can completely understand why someone would prefer a Merlin park over somewhere like BPB, but to say that Merlin are clearly leading the UK industry is not a solid statement anymore given the state that many of their parks are in as of 2017, regardless of how much they've got in the bank.

If SW8 is good and AT get their act together by extending opening times, reopening NST and redoing CCL by 2019, they could well clearly be the leading UK park once again.
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Owen
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Re: Merlin General Discussion

Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:42 am

I’m not talking about one specific park though. The discussion was if Merlin are leading the UK industry, which they clearly are when they have Alton, Thorpe, Chessington and Legoland under thier belts. No matter what my personal opinion is, I can’t deny that the ride quality at these parks is far superior to what Blackpool have been installing, I can’t deny that they have the money to achieve higher and I also can’t deny that the parks are far more popular at this point.

My point isn’t based on my opinions on any of the parks and so I don’t know why you keep bringing it up, it’s based on factors that don’t need any opinion pushed into them. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s not the ‘leading’ attraction or company, nor if you love something does it mean it is.

An opinion I would give though is why on earth would you want Blackpool Pleasure Beach being the best we have? On my last visit it was really a seaside fun fair with lack lustre staff and uncomfortable rides, it certainly wasn’t anything to shout about...


Burniel wrote:
Owen wrote:
I wouldn’t say a park who have failed to install a brand new coaster for the past 24 years is really anywhere close to ‘leading the way’ in the UK industry.

I think having a preference is fine but it’s undeniable that in reality, as much as some may not like it, Merlin parks are really in another league financially and as theme parks.

But then is that not just a sign of how bad things are getting? With some Merlin parks (in the eyes of many) getting slowly but constantly worse, and Blackpool getting slowly but constantly better, is it so unreasonable to suggest that Blackpool will soon become genuine competition for Merlin (if perhaps not an industry leader)?

On paper, and in terms of potential, Merlin parks are certainly in a different league, but management and so on have a big impact, and while Merlin are suffering the results of putting a marketing man in charge of all the fun, Blackpool is quickly becoming an enthusiast favourite, and there's no reason why it couldn't eventually become a more significant force in the UK industry if the two companies continue with how they're going. Merlin may have the reputation and size, but with the Resort Theme Parks being undeniably one of Merlin's most neglected groups recently and in future plans, the table may be set for a smaller park, putting all their resources and care into their park, to become much more dominant within the industry.

Suggesting that Merlin are untouchable given the current state of events is in itself blinded by preferences in my opinion.


I think is incredibly unfair to act as though Merlin parks are genuinely getting worse. I don’t know how you can say it’s a bad thing for them to invest in fantastically themed attractions such as Ghost Train, Gruffalo and SW8, improving attraction in a bad state such as Dragons Falls and offering some fantastic guest service (although that really depends on the person serving you). There is a major blip in UK Merlin parks right now however I won’t disclose what I feel that is, however I think it’s what seems to override anything good Merlin do when people don’t look at the bigger picture.

I just really don’t get it, not only in terms of quality but installations. Merlin are always adding to their parks with new and refurbished attractions and experiences that genuinely excite people. In 2018 alone they have SW8, Tiger Rock and whatever Thorpe May pull out the bag. Blackpool on the other hand is getting its first major coaster in 24 years and all of a sudden they’re the best just because it comes from MACK? I’m really looking forward to Icon and it is my sole reason to return to Blackpool (as is the case with a lot of people I’m sure) but as much as I’m excited about it I can’t really say it’s going to be anything ground breaking.
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