UK theme parks from another point of view!

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Ash
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2011 Onwards: Alton Towers' Future

Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:20 pm

Hey some ramblings on realistic expansion....

So 2009 - Sharkbait Reef and Cloud Cuckoo Land with Monorail, Skyride and F&B Improvements

2010 - Major Roller Coaster Installation in Ug Land and possible new flat ride

2011 - New flat ride in Ug Land


The resort as a whole has not really improved in nearly 10 years and im my opinion needs some serious looking at.

Alton if they want to become a world class resort need to focus on:

1) Being able to cope going 365 (in the sense of having something going on at the resort nearly all year)
2) Creating and improving park wide events
3) Advertising not only in the UK but Europe too
4) Improving transport connections
5) Improving value for money and resort wide food standards in the hotels and on park
6) Offering more overnight sleeping options (5* hotel,cabins,caravan and camping site) at the minimum.
7) Filling the accomidation year round, drawing people from the local area to come also
8) Creating proper entertainment that is varied for people at night and in the day that is not just the theme park/waterpark or mini golf
9) Improve how guests enter the resort, theme park and hotels this needs to increase in quality.
10) Annual events which become set in stone, that happen every year and throughout the year to spread the loss of fireworks. (Spring Feb/March, Summer June/July, Halloween September/October, Winter December)

Not sure how they could go about doing all this but something that desperately needs to be looked at to take that next step too Europa Park standards, service and way of operating.
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And.
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:20 pm

"Ash" wrote:
6) Offering more overnight sleeping options (5* hotel,cabins,caravan and camping site) at the minimum.


I see where you're coming from with that, but I'm not necessarily sure it's the best idea for Towers.

If they opened up their own campsite then no doubt it'd piss off the locals who own campsites and caravan parks - and it isn't really a good idea for them to do that.

A way around it would be to have "preferred partners" (local campsites, b&bs etc) who Alton Towers work with to ensure standards, perhaps provide a bit of theming etc.

Just a random idea anyways.

Then they could put out an Alton Towers Resort brochure listing their own accomodation as well as that of the partner sites.
 
Ash
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:18 pm

Yea definitely, suppose i never thought of that. I was thinking of basically Alton offering cheaper accomidation and more expensive accomidation to fill the gap.

As ATH as nice as it is is still really only a 2/3* hotel
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PeteB
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:26 am

"Ash" wrote:
Yea definitely, suppose i never thought of that. I was thinking of basically Alton offering cheaper accomidation and more expensive accomidation to fill the gap.

As ATH as nice as it is is still really only a 2/3* hotel


Both hotels are 4* I'm sure it was advertised somewhere when Splash first opened.

I think the events are one of the main problems. Apart from Halloween there's nothing else to get excited about. I dont think its unrealistic to ask for the return of Fireworks, as it brings in huge crowds and IIRC they have permission to run 3 nights per year.

Personally, I reckon they should space it out over the year like this:

1- Easter
2- Summer Solstice
3 - End of Season / Guyfawkes

--EDIT--

Just checked up and both hotels are actually 4*
 
Ash
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:50 am

Behave!?

There 4* seriously? Well i can honestly say if i arrived from another planet and were told they were 4* i would be seriously disapointed, there not even close. Flambo is literally just a buffet that looks very old and dated already and just not very nice, and Secret Garden is no better than your average pub chain meal to be quite frank.

Theres nothing to do for it to be 4*, no tennis courts, golf course, normal swimming pool, internet cafe, superior service when eating in the evening, entertainment, day time entertainment the list goes on!

I dont believe there 4* maybe like RAC rated four ticks or something but not a proper four star there just not!


Edit:

Apparently ATH is 3 star and Splash is 4. God knows how!

Either way a review i found of ATH:

"It's three years since we last stayed here and the hotel has really gone down hill since then. Staff are as friendly as ever but the hotel itself is in need of a makeover. The bathrom in particular was filthy. The entertainment is fine if it's your first stay but it had not changed word for word since our last visit.

Food in both hotels is poor and over priced, the buffet in Splash landings hotel was almost inedible with vats of food swimming in grease and mouldy vegetables, choice in the secret garden restaurent was poor especially for vegetarians. Breakfast was adequate. As we were staying two nights we couldn't face eating there again and went to the Little Chef up the road where we got a tasty meal at half the price. The bar staff try to short change you, only for the odd 50p but it all adds up and make sure all valubles are locked away as my daughter had her nintendo game stolen

Overall I do not think that this is the luxary hotel that it used to be, it is now very 'mass market' and it certainly did not deliver value for money. For an extra couple of hundred pounds we could have flown to Spain and stayed at Portaventura theme park resort hotel which offers much better value for money."

My thoughts on the place to be honest, they certainly dont do it like the yanks!


Instead of eating a small portion of bland and overpriced food id much rather have a wander into Alton to have a butchers about, and visit one of the many great pubs for some real food and to do what TTF has never done, something i may try to bring up at the next meet!
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AstroDan

Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:22 am

There are a lot of negative reviews of the hotels on the likes of Trip Advisor, although there are some positive reviews in equal measure.

The reason for the star rating Ash, is the facilities available in the hotels. No matter how you look at it, and how much they may cost, a Spa, Water Park, 2 restaurants, 3 bars, entertainment, room service in ATH etc. all add up.

And with all due respect, some of the local pubs are diabolical.
 
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:02 am

The star rating system in the UK is outdated and more or less useless these days anyway. The likes of trip advisor are the places people will now go to get reviews on their accomodation (that place is a godsend!).

As Dan mentioned, the facilities are the things that are taken into account, and the quality of these seem to have decreased overtime. But, there's still a 24 hour reception, room service on ATH and 7 day a week dinner service all of which contribute to the star rating. But, there's not a great deal of information available (unlike the likes of Germany) on stating what warrants each star rating, just small snippets from VisitEngland of certain aspects like the reception and food service standard mentioned above.

That said, I'm in no way agreeing with the star ratings the hotels have been given. Truth be told, I absolute despise the rooms as they are at the moment, and begrudge paying so much for them. I'm also in full agreement with PeteB and Ash regarding entertainment, it needs to improve vastly in order for the hotels to compete on a global/european platform. I know the volume of hotel events have been increased recently, but they need to ooze quality and though - not just blatant additions for the hell of it.

An overhaul of the rooms is really needed to bring the rooms up to a decent standard. The lack of air conditioning has really made itself known due to the hot and humid nights we've been having in recent years, and my god sort those mattresses and the showers out!

Overnight sleeping options definitely need to be extended, and log cabins should be considered for this. Even looking at the temporary ones installed at Christmas on the woodland walk, it certainly strengthened my view that these would be an ideal addition to the park.

We've already seen great improvements on the monorail with their refurbishment which is a great step in the right direction. I don't think the entrance arrangements are too bad at the moment, continue with sprucing up etc. But, the much talked about FV entrance would certainly be a great addition.

Also something that's been talked about in the past is the utilisation of Towers Street as a "Main Street" area. Fenced off at the bottom at night, this would present an ideal opportunity for proper bars and restaraunts for people to chill out in just before or after park close. It would create a win win situation for Towers and locals, dispersing traffic a little more, and generating extra revenue for the park.

That brings us onto transport. To put it bluntly, it definitely needs improvement. I'm not aware of how much advertising is put in down in the Midlands for using public transport, but perhaps more offers for travel further afield would be ideal. Deals with major train and bus companies, and more importantly decent promotion of these deals.

I'm hoping we do see the continuation of food standards being improved on park this season and beyond. There's already been the welcome addition of Rita's Chicken and Ribs, and the Explorer's Buffet this season adds to that. Hotel wise, another restaraunt perhaps and a full overhaul of the menu at Secret Garden and improvement in standards at Flambo's too. I was severely disappointed (yet again!) with the quality of Flambo's at half term, and nearly always leave feeling robbed.

On park events need to improve for much the same reason as the hotel events. Some seem rushed and "for the hell of it". They need to gain a reputation for highly regarded, special events in much the same way the fireworks used to be much anticipated by guests. Scarefest seems to be well on its way to doing this, with it coming on leaps and bounds last year with the addition of a new maze, and things can only get better this year.

The Christmas hotel event also came on a fair bit from past years, and even though I visited New Year's Day I got that "magical" feeling looking around the gardens. The building blocks and potential are there for a spectacular future Christmas event which could bring in a massive number of guests at both the hotel and the park. I just hope they continue to improve on it year on year.

With the economic times as they are though, it's not something thats going to come straight away. A slow build up, as we have seen in recent years, to bigger and better events is the best way to go at the moment. Events are being improved upon every year, and we're already seeing the additions of midway style attractions to encourage longer stays, such as golf and SeaLife.

(That was a little longer than I thought it was!)
 
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:12 pm

"Ash" wrote:
Instead of eating a small portion of bland and overpriced food id much rather have a wander into Alton to have a butchers about, and visit one of the many great pubs for some real food and to do what TTF has never done, something i may try to bring up at the next meet!


TTF have been to pubs in Alton an the surrounding area on meets and have always been dissapointed hence why we dont do it very often, last time we ate nearby half the group had some of the worst pizzas I have ever seen.
 
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:46 pm

"Ash" wrote:
Apparently ATH is 3 star and Splash is 4. God knows how!


No no. They are both 4 star hotels, you can check with the English Tourism Council. Star ratings aren't dished out willy nilly, its taken seriously.


"AstroDan" wrote:
There are a lot of negative reviews of the hotels on the likes of Trip Advisor, although there are some positive reviews in equal measure.

And with all due respect, some of the local pubs are diabolical.


Totally agree. I've had over 20 stays at the hotels and think only once had a bad experience.

People turn their noses up and say "oh its not as nice as Disney Hotels" or "its not as cheap as a holiday in spain" but they dont realise what they comparing. They are in DIFFERENT countries, there is NO comparison.

Spend a bit of time in your own country, travel around the UK and you'll see the Alton Towers Hotels aren't all that expensive and are actually amongst the best.

For example, anyone who's stayed at the Hilton in Leeds will know exactly what I'm talking about - this is supposed to be a reasonably "posh" hotel. Let me tell you - no parking, crappy service, tiny rooms, and not cheap by any means. Oh and the so called Spa can only be laughed at!
 
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Jase
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:42 pm

I'm pretty sure both Hotels are 3 star! - Well, definately were a few years ago and not enough changes have been made for them to jump up a star really?
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:09 am

"Jase" wrote:
I'm pretty sure both Hotels are 3 star! - Well, definately were a few years ago and not enough changes have been made for them to jump up a star really?


Always been 4 star. There is usually a plaque somewhere next to reception which shows the rating, I remember looking at in when Splash opened in 2003!

There seems to be mixed ratings all over the net. But then again most of information about Alton Towers on these sites is incorrect. :?
 
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amylovesaltontowers
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:32 pm

I think the campsite is a good idea as it would be a nice change to guests from staying in the hotels, although it would probably be more expensive than the local campsites (with it being Alton Towers) so most people would pay less and stay there.
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AstroDan

Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:03 pm

I also thought that the hotels were 3 star, which would be a fair rating in my eyes. Weird...!
 
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zs chris
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:51 am

I can see how they would be 4* if its purely on the facilities (pool/restaurants/spa/theme park/golf etc..) but I really dont see the rooms themselves meriting a 4* hotel rating.. The hotels themeselves are really nice places but the rooms arent on par with the rest of the facilities for the price IMO..

Still enjoy going there though..
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Chris1
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:05 pm

A Black Hole replacement and X-Sector clean up must be on the cards for 2011 surely....

For that tent to be empty for more than 6 years would be ridiculous IMO...
 
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:36 pm

The tent is a great opportunity for a world class ride and if it were to sit empty for that amount of time it would be ridiculous.
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CoasterCrazyChris
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:26 pm

X-Sector is basically screaming for a new ride these days, I mean 'ole Blivvy needs a bit better company than headrattler Submission...

The Black Hole structure I personally think could house a simulator or something, done well, like glorified up into a dark ride or something and it could be well cool.

Anything but a family show...lol :roll:
 
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Expansion Of The Theme Park And Resort

Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:46 pm

I would personally like to see something more done with the Towers themselves. After all they are the centrepiece of the whole site and should be shown a little more respect in my opinion.

I suppose they are in quite a bad shape at present, and would cost quite a lot to renovate, however I can see the possibility of a really great themed hotel there, possibly a haunted theme?. I would certainly pay good money to stay in it!
 
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Alton Towers' Future

Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:49 pm

^I belive they currently have been renovating the towers, for a couple of years now. I think something like a million pounds is being spent on it.

Yes, I agree the X-Sector does need a new ride it is a bit bare at the moment. But time will tell. Alton are often unpredictable with there investments.
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Re: 2011 Onwards: Alton Towers' Future

Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:16 pm

Merlin have an agreement with the council that they will keep investing so much money into the towers each year.

The Blackhole tent is screaming out for some investment, I thought it would have been good to have put a show in there for the 2009/2010 seasons and then put a new rollercoaster/ride inside the tent for 2011.
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