UK theme parks from another point of view!

Will Alton Towers still be the UK\'s number one theme park?

Poll runs till Sat Oct 26, 2052 12:45 am

Yes - Easily
23 (30%)
Yes - But with stiffer competition
25 (33%)
Yes - But only just
4 (5%)
Not sure - It all depends on the coming years
10 (13%)
No - Replaced by Thorpe
7 (9%)
No - Replaced by Chessington
1 (1%)
No - Replaced by other
4 (5%)
Other - Specify in reply
2 (3%)
 
Total votes: 76
 
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NastyPasty
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Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Mon May 30, 2011 1:22 pm

Well, you probably know me as the person who is desparate to stick up for Alton during this difficult period of time. However, I am personally in doubt as to wthether Alton Towerrs deserves the statement as:
THE UK'S BEST THEME PARK

Is this really true? Maybe it is the largest, but Thorpe Park are not just a froce to be reckoned with; they have already established themselves a large fan base, and out of sheer curiosity, I'll be paying my first ever visit this Summer. Lightwater Valley's recent development for the 2011 season has proved a leap forwards, and Drayton Manor have a hotel well underway. Chessington seems to be getting stronger on the whole, and Flamingo Land is a rising star to be contended with in the North. the reason this topic has been raised in 'Future' is because I ask the question; In just a few more years, will Alton Towers still be number 1 theme park in the UK?
Keep on whistlin', folks.

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UltimateDingbat
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Mon May 30, 2011 2:23 pm

Looking back through the years in the past I have said Alton was the best. However in recent years and after my visit recently I am beginning to doubt it. We had an excellent day at Pleasurebeach with a lot more good rides on the day, an excellent day at Lightwater a few years back. I can';t compare to Thorpe, Chessington or a few of the other biggies as I have never been
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Mon May 30, 2011 4:42 pm

It may not be the best or No.1 theme park in the UK anymore to a lot of people, but it still is MY best and favourite theme park in the UK, still love it after 15 years. I never ever got bored of Nemesis :D
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Blaze

Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Mon May 30, 2011 6:53 pm

The first two. The competition is better, but they're still a long way behind. As long as Alton continue making decent investments at least as good as the rest, that won't change. Alton have more space and a much better setting thsn most other parks and no one can buy the kind of herritage Alton has. The reputation of the park will take a lot to be eroded, to most people, you don't go to a theme park, you go to Alton Towers. It's the park most people think about when they think theme park or big rides. Even if they've never been there, everyone knows what Alton Towers is. It's not quite spoken about in hushed terms or anything, but the park has a huge reputation that won't go away for a long time.

Plus, while Thorpe may be improving rapidly, Alton still has, with one insane exception, by far the best ride in the country, and a higher quality of ride in general on the whole.
 
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Mon May 30, 2011 8:35 pm

With Alton's unique and quirky atmosphere it stands out from your other more general Theme Parks, e.g no other parks have anything like the 2 resort hotels, waterpark, golf etc. and just a few things like these make it stand out from the rest, including rides like TH13TEEN, Air, Nemesis etc.
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:17 am

"Blaze" wrote:
The first two. The competition is better, but they're still a long way behind. As long as Alton continue making decent investments at least as good as the rest, that won't change. Alton have more space and a much better setting thsn most other parks and no one can buy the kind of herritage Alton has. The reputation of the park will take a lot to be eroded, to most people, you don't go to a theme park, you go to Alton Towers. It's the park most people think about when they think theme park or big rides. Even if they've never been there, everyone knows what Alton Towers is. It's not quite spoken about in hushed terms or anything, but the park has a huge reputation that won't go away for a long time.

Plus, while Thorpe may be improving rapidly, Alton still has, with one insane exception, by far the best ride in the country, and a higher quality of ride in general on the whole.


Been honest When I first went in 1993 I hadn't heard of Alton Towers. The only uk theme parks I had been to before 93 was American adventure with school and Drayton Manor with my parents.Back in them days all the parks looked like fun fairs. It was Nemesis that made Alton Towers the theme park it is today.
 
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:43 pm

I don't think they are currently the best UK theme park. I think the Pleasure Beach have clinched it this year. I think it's a very close run thing between the two parks, but the fact that the Pleasure Beach have refurbished and added rides to a whole area whilst Alton have done nothing swings the balance in their favour.

Whereas Alton have one absolutely 10/10 coaster and a lot of "good coasters", PBB have two 9/10 coasters, and a lot of "good" coasters instead. I prefer having two almost perfect coasters to one perfect coaster.

Alton have the ruins and the gardens on their side. But as I said in the Rainbow Magicland topic, I think the Pleasure Beach is the best themed park in the country, themed to being a turn-of-the-century amusement park on steroids. The number of great and bizarre coasters just makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop whenever I enter the park.

The park have been doing a lot of work recently, smartening up the park's image with the new logos, classy new ticket centre, and breathing a bit of space into the park with the fountain show and sculpture garden. I just find the atmosphere at the Pleasure Beach of all the different coaster tracks tangled like spaghetti to be unbeatable. That said, they are missing out on a lot of essentials like a good steel coaster or a rapids. I fully expect the balance to swing back to AT (maybe permanently?) with SW7. :)
 
AstroDan

Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:49 pm

Alton Towers still has better rides than pleasure beach. But Alton is totally resting on its laurels and has been for too long.

The effort from blackpool, Drayton and paultons this year is exceptional and shows true effort. Alton have done nothing, not even ride refurbishments...

Alton is still the better park, but only due to their past not the present.

As much as I applaud Blackpool, I haven't even visited yet this season...!

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Blaze

Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:39 pm

Blackpool is having a decent year, but that doesn't make it better overall. They've made good efforts to smarten up and modernise without destroying it's character, but I never feel a need to go there, and it doesn't feel as 'welcoming' as Alton does.

Taking away each parks efforts this year, Alton is still the better park quite easily.
 
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:42 pm

I haven't been to both Alton Towers and Blackpool in two years now but if I go there sometime this year, I definitely would go to Alton Towers first! :)
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:16 pm

I first visited Alton last year and was blown away, frankly. It was far better than I expected it to be (and my expectations were pretty high). I've now made 3 2-day visits (it is 3-4 hours away from me).

I love Chessington as it's my local park and I've been going there since the late 80s. Thorpe I detest (a few nice rides but the rest of the park and the atmosphere just leaves me cold). Legoland I quite enjoy but will visit less as my youngest gets older. Now he's just about tall enough for Th13teen and Dragons Fury etc I think he'll get a bit bored of Legoland in a year or two.

But compared to all those parks Alton stands (for me) head and shoulders above. It has a great atmosphere, a fantastic selection of rides, amazing grounds and is a real experience. I can't comment on BPP or Paultons as I haven't been there. I did goto Drayton a couple of years ago - wasn't hugely impressed. Thomasland was Ok.
 
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:30 pm

"NeilHD" wrote:
I did goto Drayton a couple of years ago - wasn't hugely impressed. Thomasland was Ok.


As I posted in another thread, I'm really impressed with Drayton Manor lately. The staff are actually friendly now and want to engage in conversation, not to mention that the whole park is very clean and tidy.

Alton will always be the thrillseeker's paradise, but it certainly can't beat DMP (or similar) as a family park. You only need see the crowds at DMP recently to know that it's quite popular.
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:42 pm

This poll has missed the more relevant and interesting question by limiting it to the UK.

Except for those parks that AstroDan mentioned, Merlin has a monopoly on UK theme parks which means they'll all stay roughly static. Indeed it's almost in Merlin's interest now to bring all their parks to the same level to guarantee a stable revenue stream whereby one park's new attraction doesn't pull crowds away from another. There isn't enough competition out there to change anything.
This may start to change though. This is a world that is rapidly globalising. Trips to European parks become valid. Those parks are the only ones that can affect change here, and at the moment they're still just too out of reach for many. That can change though. Some of the parks in Europe will grow to such a point that, like Disneyland Paris, they start becoming known in the public concious -as these parks increase their foreign marketing clout- and become real alternatives.
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:52 am

Alton by default. Thorpe will slide away over the next few years, as will Blackpool, and I suspect most of the other UK parks will remain static, bar Drayton, who's ever growing appetite for IP's will tread them new turf, but that may actually benefit Alton, as more people increasingly visit the area for a 'long weekend.'
 
Blaze

Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:11 pm

Can't see Thorpe siding away. Merlin and various incarnations of Tussauds before them pumped a hell of a lot of money into Thorpe to get it up to a decent standard and I can't see them stopping now they finally got a the point of being reputable.
 
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:44 pm

I personally would say no. But I am slightly bias due to the way I left employment from the resort.

But, IMO I think they are slipping behind the others and really need to pick them selfs up. They need to get back to trying to aim for Disney standards.

We all know they will never come close, but that's where they should be reaching for.

Oh and stop being so tight with money for new attractions/shows!
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AstroDan

Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:31 pm

I think the depression about if Alton Towers is or isn't the UK's number one theme park stems simply from the 2011 developments and offering at the park.

I, myself am feeling incredibly frustrated and disappointed by the current season at the park, and it would seem so too, are the general visiting public - going by the fact that on no visit this season has ride close been extended when I have been on park (indeed, today it was 1/2 hour earlier than had been advertised) and that the queues at the park, aside from one or two occasions, have been really low - today would be a prime example.

It would also be true to say that other parks - namely Drayton Manor and Pleasure Beach Blackpool (both major competition to Alton Towers) have made shrewd investments in the family market this season with big pulling power from a famous IP. That's not to say, of course, that I have any idea if either parks visitor figures are up, although I think Drayton's are for certain (they, of course, have also added Thomas Land in recent years - another great move).

However, there is more than one or two seasons investments to consider when labelling a park "no. 1". Alton Towers still has the most visitors in the UK. Twelve months ago, there would have been no question for most of us on here that it is/was the no. 1. And, let's be honest here - does one season of no investment and increasing prices/upselling etc. suddenly rank Alton below other parks? In my eyes, no it does not. It would, quite honestly, take 4 or 5 years of practically nothing at Alton Towers whilst Blackpool and Drayton (and the others) add things left, right and centre before there would be any shift. Thorpe Park I don't consider ever in with a chance for as long as they only focus on one market as for me, I would like theme parks to cater to all - as I believe this lends itself to a far superior atmosphere. That said, for thrill seekers, Thorpe would already be #1. Chessington is a great family/kids park, but again, stutters due to not being a "for all" theme park. Alton, Drayton, Blackpool, Flamingoland etc. all attempt this.

Blackpool, let us not forget, prior to the addition of Nick Land, had made practically no investment in rides/attractions for several years and, even then, only added a second hand off-the-shelf SLC model of which there are dozens around the world and enthusiasts don't rave about whatsoever. Alton, of late, have added a family coaster, excellent aquarium, half-arsed children's area re-theme, very well themed Splash Battle and other rethemes. I would actually say it is Drayton Manor who seem to be accelerating at the faster level and I, to be frank, relish this. Drayton completely lack a decent rollercoaster - but with their lovely looking hotel, excellent family developments and improvements to staffing - they are sure to be on Alton's radar at the moment.

So, to sum up, there's more to the UK's number one than just one season of ill investment. Alton Towers has been the UK's premier theme park for about 15 years now (prior to that, I would have argued Pleasure Beach boasted overall better rides/attractions) - this is why it consistently has 2.5-3million guests a season, is the only UK park to conduct true nationwide advertising and is the first park on any international enthusiasts lips if they're visiting the UK (well, perhaps not TPR, who we all know, adore the Pleasure Beach for, above all, it's rustic British charm).

Of course, if you applied the question "which is the UK's number one park for effort" then well, it would be a completely different ball game.
One thing's for sure, Alton can't sit on its arse for much longer.
 
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:18 pm

The next few years should be interesting as in recent years many UK parks have really stepped up (certainly compared to the early00's) and this can only be a good thing and although i am sure Alton will remain the uk most visited park its good to see other parks creating a bit more competition and a much better level of investment is happening in UK parks than has happened for a very long time.-

Thorpe Park: £18m New coaster in 2012

Alton Towers: 2012- Large investment planned (lots of rumours of what this may be)
2013- Park biggest ever ride investment on Major coaster

Drayton Manor: 2011- Ben 10, Thomas Land ride, Hotel and general Clean up
2012-Rumoured New Thrill ride
2013-Large scale World First Coaster

Blackpool Pleasure Beach: 2011-£10m Nick Land
2012-4d Cinema in Nick Land + Walice and Gromit ride
?- Rumoured Thill ride to take place of Bling

Light Water Valley: Next 5 Years- £1m invested each season

LegoLand: 2011-£8m Atlantis ride
2012-Hotel
?-New family coaster is planned for the near future

Pleasure Wood Hills: 2012-Drop Tower

Plus large investments planned at Chessington, Flamingoland and Paultons park
 
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:48 pm

No other themepark in the uk has an atmosphere like Alton Towers. I dont really think any other uk park matches up to alton in terms of attractions. I think alton is leagues ahead but if they continue to expand at a snails pace then that will change very quickly.
One park i would love to see rival Alton is light water valley. Its a fantastic little park which is second only to Alton for atmosphere
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Re: Alton Towers - Still No. 1?

Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:51 pm

Absolutely Alton Towers is the number one theme park in the UK. Firstly, within the general public, Alton is the most well known. In addition to this, it's also the largest theme park in the UK which has something to offer for everyone. The likes of Pleasurewood Hills and Camelot have tried to tap into this market, but as the American Adventure famously proved, have failed miserably; Alton towers have succeeded. We also now have concerts coming to the park (which other UK park offers this? :? ) in addition to the only roller coaster in this country that still gains world wide reconigition. Nemesis alone makes Alton Towers still the number on theme park in the UK.
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