As we are not far now from the end of the 2016 season, a 2015-2019 topic is a bit dated, however here's a few things I think should happen over the next 4 or 5 seasons, up to 2021 maybe. Some of these are what I'd like to see however unlikely and some are things I think AT are aiming for in the long term.
---- Expansion of dark forest to include area up the towers and Cloud Cuckoo Land, Charlie and the chocolate factory either converted into or replaced by dark ride. Convert CCL area into spooky area possible as an abandoned town with the back story of the local townspeople abandoning it after the witch's curse of the chained oak spread to the local area. Add one or two flat rides behind rita and thirteen. Replace cinema theme into mini horror cinema, almost a scarefest taster. Fill former CCL area with spooky, yet still junior themed rides. Longer term plans could include expansion into the old coaster corner area, predominantly consisting of indoor rides to minimise noise.
---- closure and demolition of dual once a suitable replacement in place as part of dark forest expansion. Clearing of gloomy wood for eventual relocation of park entrance.
---- New entrance plaza built behind nemesis, entering in the rough area of dual and the monorail maintenance area (monorail maintenance area moved to towers Street end of track or monorail removed altogether). Entrance plaza to keep similar style to towers Street with shops, restaurants and classic scenery. Designed to allow some aspects such as restaurants and shops to be inside the park during the day but can be separated from the park at night to become part of the evening entertainment area. (see below). Entrance to lead into open area on current gloomy wood site, still offering routes to katanga Canyon and forbidden Valley, with the haunted hollow walk-through opened up into a more main route towards the towers and the Lake. Towers Street could remain as an entrance in the short term, although a smaller set up than its current form, mainly suiting people arriving on public transport, however eventually it would be closed as an entrance and maybe just left as a secondary exit. The towers Street layout would initially be kept, maybe serving as a small food court or something however it could eventually be cleared with some of the staff parking behind it to create more Park space. The key however is that the approach view of the towers would be a shame to lose so this should be a feature of any future use.
--- Evening entertainment area developed on air car park site. To include indoor/outdoor entertainment stage area for evening shows. New indoor entertainment such as a new mini golf course and rock-climbing centre.Restaurants, shops and maybe other attractions such as cinema or bowling. Taking some inspiration from holiday venues such as butlins with enough to do to fill a long weekend or midweek breaks initially with week long breaks the long term aim.
---- I won't be too specific on rides as predicting their life span is near impossible but what's needed is:-
----- Water ride to replace the logflume, possibly something major like vahalla, or a fairly simple water coaster.
----- Spread cbeebies land to include all of adventureland and move any decent rides from CCL to here.
---- Add a few flats to the Park, specifically one in forbidden Valley, one in x sector and one in dark forest.
---- Unlikely to be any major coaster investment but just some good tlc on the existing ones.
---- Major improvement on themeing. The expansion of dark forest and cbeebies would effectively get rid of 2 themed areas, CCL and AL, and with the eventual removal of gloomy wood we'd be left with less, but bigger and better themed areas. One clearly defined spooky area, one clearly defined kids area, and the current areas of x sector, forbidden Valley with gradual merging of mutiny bay and katanga Canyon into one area following the opening of sw8.
Lots going on, many ideas would be more long term than 2017-2021 but the foundations could begin to be laid. The ultimate aim being to extend the stay time of guests, and spread the park towards its available land around the car parks and meadow fields. (on that note too, parking would be expanded to the meadow fields to free up space in the air car park and divert traffic away from the traffic light junction to create space for the eventual entrance repositioning).
Any thoughts, suggestions or ideas?
Are fewer but larger and better themed areas the way to go? Would you like to see a larger spooky area taking over CCL?
Love your plan. Bet that took a lot of hard work haha. Like the idea of merging dark forest and cloud cuckoo land together, as there seems to be little need for two seperate areas of the park being directly advertised towards children. Also like the idea of cbeebies land expansion into adventure land, as there doesn't seem to be much point for it now anyway since there's one ride left there and there's been a few indications that Spinball could be removed in the very near future.
Also, merging Kantanga Canyon and Mutiny Bay is a great idea, but in my opinion it would need a completely new name and theme. With SW8 coming along in Mutiny Bay, it needs a total retheme. The rapids are thirty years old this year, and the mine train not far off it. Both rides will be on their last legs pretty quickly. If the retheme did come, you'd need a few flats, maybe a dark ride (similiar to duel maybe, I really like them 3D shooters like the Toy Story one in Hollywood Studios, but don't think Merlin would have the budget for something like that, although it would be cool.) and with the existing kids rides in mutiny bay, you have a fully themed new area (with essential landscaping of course!)
Also agree that new flats are needed asap, should be at the top of Merlin's list of priorities. Enterprise & The Blade pretty much guaranteed to be gone in the next few seasons, alton will be left with no flats. If Merlin wanted to invest in flats properly, they'd need: two in the new mutiny bay/kantanya canyon, two new flats in X-Sector following the removal of Enterprise, a new flat in Forbidden Valley to replace The Blade, and a new flat in the new expanded Dark Forest that it's needed for many years.
Oh, and to finish off. A slightly altered version of Valhalla would be a great fit at Alton! Would love to see one.